A pair of giant limestone sphinxes have been unearthed by archaeologists at the temple of Amenhotep III, who ruled ancient Egypt about 3,300 years ago and was Tutankhamun’s grandfather.
The statues depict the pharaoh wearing a mongoose hat, a royal beard and a wide necklace. After further analysis, the team found the script “the beloved of Amun-Re” across one of the sphinx’s chests.
According to Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the Egyptian-German archaeological team, led by Horig Sorosian, found giant statues submerged in water at the building of honor, known as the “Temple of Millions of Years.”
The temple in Luxor, Egypt, which is famous for the oldest and most ancient sites of Egypt, as well as for the location of the Valley of the Kings.
Along with the 26m-long sphinx, the team also discovered three almost intact statues of the goddess Sekhmet, the lion-like guardian of the sun god Ra, and the remains of a great pillared hall.
And the walls throughout the hall are decorated with ceremonial and ritual scenes. The Horosian emphasizes the significance of this discovery, as two sphinxes confirm the presence at the head of the procession where the annual Beautiful Valley Festival celebration is held.
This annual event is a time when people can visit their deceased loved ones and bring them gifts – and it’s only held in the ancient city of Thebes.
King Amenhotep III was the grandfather of the famous pharaoh Tutankhamun and reigned in the 14th century BC at the height of Egypt’s New Kingdom and presided over a vast empire that stretched from Nubia in the south to Syria in the north.
The 18th dynasty ruler became king at the age of 12, with his mother as regent, and is said to have ruled Egypt from 1386 to 1349 BC. Amenhotep III chose the daughter of a provincial official as his royal wife, and throughout his reign, Queen Tiy appeared at the king’s side.
Amenhotep III died around 1354 BC and was succeeded by his son Amenhotep IV, widely known as Akhenaten, the father of King Tut.
Tut began his reign at the age of eight or nine and ruled for about nine years. However, the young king was plagued by health problems caused by his parents and siblings – and experts believe the problems led to his death.
Amenhotep III may have left the Earth thousands of years ago, but archaeologists are still uncovering remnants of his past, with the most lavish being the “lost golden city.”
In April 2021, archaeologists announced the discovery of a 3,500-year-old city in Luxor, which they say is the largest ancient city ever discovered in Egypt.
It was built by Amenhotep III and later used by King Tutankhamun. Luxor, a city of about 500,000 people on the banks of the Nile in southern Egypt, is an open-air museum with intricate temples and pharaonic tombs.
Excavations at the site have uncovered bakeries, workshops and burial places for animals and people, along with jewelry, pots and mud bricks bearing the imprint of Amenhotep III.
The group initially set out to explore the Temple of the Dead of Tutankhamun, where the young king was embalmed and received state rituals, but they stumbled upon something much larger.
Betsy Brian, Professor of Egyptology at John Hopkins University in Baltimore USA, said “The discovery of this lost city is the second most important archaeological discovery since the tomb of Tutankhamun”.
“The discovery of the Lost City, not only will give us a rare glimpse into the life of the Ancient Egyptians at the time when the Empire was at its wealthiest but will help us shed light on one of history’s greatest mysteries: why did Akhenaten & Nefertiti decide to move to Amarna.”
The city lies between the temple of Rameses III at Medinet Habu and the temple of Amenhotep III at Memnon. Excavations began in September 2020, and within weeks, archaeologists discovered mudbrick formations.
After digging even deeper, archaeologists unearthed the site of a large, well-preserved city with almost complete walls and rooms filled with tools once used by the city’s inhabitants.