4,500 New Fragments Of King Psamtek I Quartzite Colossus Are Discovered In Egypt

Psamtek I controlled Egypt between 664 and 610 BCE, and these new fragments help to show the original shape and size of the enormous colossus.

4,500 new fragments of the King Psamtek I colossus have been found in Egypt.
Nariman El-Mofty / AP Images

Psamtek I controlled Egypt between 664 and 610 BCE, and these new fragments help to show the original shape and size of the enormous colossus.

Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities has announced the remarkable discovery of 4,500 new fragments of the massive quartzite colossus of King Psamtek I, which will add to the 6,400 pieces that were previously discovered at Souq Al-Khamis in 2017.

The current archaeological mission is a joint venture that is being conducted by Egyptian and German teams at Matariya, Heliopolis, which will allow archaeologists to more accurately gauge how large the original colossus would have been, along with determining its shape, as Ahram reports.

Ayman Ashmawy of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities has explained that the new pieces of the King Psamtek I colossus have revealed the many complexities of the statue, which would have included a kneeling Psamtek as he bowed before Amun, who was considered to be the first god based on the Heliopolitan creation myth.

“The new fragments confirm that the colossus once depicted King Psamtek I standing, but it also reveals that his left arm was held in front of the body, an unusual feature. A very carefully carved scene on the back-pillar shows the kneeling king Psamtek I in front of the creator-god Atum of Heliopolis.”

Dietrich Raue, who is in charge of the German archaeological mission, has stated that along with the recovery of the 4,500 fragments of the colossus, geophysical and geomorphological surveys were also undertaken, which helped to locate various pieces of a quartzite gate. This gate would have once been the property of Nektanebo, who lived during the 30th Dynasty, as well as Ramses II, who reigned during the 19th Dynasty.

The gate was discovered at Matariya at the site of where Nektanebo’s temple would have stood between 379 to 361 BC, but the geophysical survey ascertained that there were numerous locations which also had different fragments of this temple.

Raue noted that just inside the original temple itself archaeologists had made many remarkable discoveries, which include a red granite Ramesside sphinx, a frieze of falcons and some of the remains still left from the 19th Dynasty gate of Merenptah. This clearly shows that Nektanebo I would have fashioned his own temple on the site of one that had been built previously, according to Dietrick.

“It seems evident that Nektanebo I added his building to a major temple built at an earlier date.”

Once the 4,500 new fragments of the colossus of King Psamtek I have been further analyzed, the new discovery will be sent directly to the Egyptian Museum.