4,400-year-old statue of Egyptian pharaoh found

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A team of archaeologists from Belgium succeeded in unearthing a statue of Pharaoh Sahure in the southern governorate of Aswan on Tuesday. It is reportedly one of a very few statues or artifacts attributed to the rule of Sahure, dating back to between 2487-2475 BC. Sahure was the second ruler of the Old Kingdom’s Fifth Dynasty.

4,400-year-old statue of Egyptian pharaoh found
Belgian archaeologists announced the discovery of lower part of a royal 
statue showing the name of King “Sahure”, second King of the 
5th Dynasty in the Old Kingdom, on April 28, 2015 
[Credit: Egyptian Antiquities Authority]

According to the leader of the Belgian archaeological team, Dirk Huyge, the name of Pharaoh Sahure was found inscribed on the base of a sandstone statue that they unearthed in the historically rich site of Al-Kab in Aswan, located on the eastern bank of the Nile River, over 580 kilometers south of Cairo.

While this Belgian team has unearthed only the bottom half of Sahure’s statue, further excavations are underway in hopes of digging-up further clues about the pharaoh. 

In a statement issued by Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities on its official webpage, it is mentioned that this bottom half of Sahure’s statue measures 21.7 centimeters in height, while the full height of the statue may reach up to 70 centimeters.

While there are only a handful of artifacts directly associated with Sahure. The pharaoh is renowned for expanding ancient Egypt’s diplomatic relations and trade routes from the Levant to the land of Punt (around present day Sudan to Somalia.)

4,400-year-old statue of Egyptian pharaoh found
Head of a gneiss statue of Sahure in the gallery 103 of the New York Metropolitan 
Museum of Art [Credit: Keith Schengili-Roberts/WikiCommons]

According to the Ministry of Antiquities, the Belgian team’s discovery “is of great significance and importance,” as there are only two (intact) statues of Pharaoh Sahure – one in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and the second in the Egyptian Museum by Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

Tuesday’s discovery has produced the third (incomplete) statue of Sahure to ever be unearthed.

The aforementioned Belgian team has been conducting excavations in al-Kab since 2009. The remains of several centuries worth of statues, artifacts, and temples have been discovered in this area of Aswan.

Belgian archaeologists have reportedly been involved in excavations in and around al-Kab since 1937.

Originally referred to as Nekheb, al-Kab had been inhabited since pre-historic times. It is believed to have served as a sort of regional capital for southern Egypt, during the rule of the earliest-dynasties, and intermittently until the Ptolemaic period (323-30 BC). 

Source: Mada Masr [April 30, 2015]

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