A 42 foot (13 meter) statue of Pharaoh Amenhotep III was recently unearthed in Luxor, Egypt. The city, which is located in the southern part of Egypt is the site of two separate temple complexes. Both the temple complex of Karnak and the temple complex of Luxor are located inside the modern city. The city is also located across the river Nile from other important archeological sites such as the West Bank Necropolis, the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. These last two sites are where many ancient Pharaohs and their wives were buried.
Amenhotep III ruled Egypt from 1386 BCE to 1349 BCE. During this time, the country prospered and artistic splendor was allowed to reach its peak. Over 250 statues have been unearthed that depict this pharaoh in addition to large stone scarabs that commemorate everything from his hunting prowess to the creation of an artificial lake that Amenhotep had built for his wife, Queen Tiye. Tiye was only one of several women that Amenhotep married during his lifetime. Many of them were foreign and came from areas such as Babylon and Ammia (which is located in modern Syria). He also married the daughter of several of his allies as well.
The temple where the statue was found was not located in Luxor itself but was actually located on the West Bank of the Nile. Amenhotep had constructed a large funerary temple which was a normal practice for pharaohs at the time. The statue, which is constructed out of seven blocks of quartzite, was originally positioned in front of the northern entrance to the temple complex. Although the statue was missing a head, it was possible to identify it as being that of Amenhotep III.
Two other statues were also unearthed at the same time as the Amenhotep statue. One depicted the Egyptian God Thoth. While this deity is often depicted with the head of an ibis (a long-legged wading bird) the statue unearthed at the temple showed Thoth depicted with the head of a baboon. Thoth was associated with magical arts, writing, science and judging of the dead. A second statue measured six feet in height and depicted the goddess Sekhmet. Sekhmet was a warrior goddess who was also associated with healing.
The temple where these statues were found has recently been the focus of massive excavations. An earlier excavation in 1928 actually unearthed the statue but it was buried again. It is believed that a twin to the Amenhotep statue will be unearthed in future excavations. It is surprising that so many artifacts and statuary can be located in the ruins of the temple due to the fact that the structure was heavily damaged in the past. Both flooding and a massive earthquake in 27 BCE were believed to have contributed to the damage that the temple had sustained.
The temple is one of several that were constructed by pharaohs on the West Bank but of the temples, it is one of the largest and grandest that has been unearthed to date.