Archaeologists excavating the site of Amenhotep III’s funerary temple in Luxor have found a colossal head of the pharaoh from what was once an enormous full-body statue. Other pieces of the statue have been found in the area, but this is the largest and depicts the pharaoh’s serene visage at its youthful ideal.
Measuring 2.5 metres, made from solid red granite and depicting Amenhotep III wearing the Upper Egyptian white crown, it has been described in a press statement by Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities Zahi Hawass as a “masterpiece of highly artistic quality”.
The head, added Hawass, is a “portrait of the king with very fine youthful sculptured features”. It was sheared from the body statue at the chin and neck. The body statue – fragments of which are currently in restoration – is believed to show Amenhotep III in a standing position, with his hands crossed over his chest and holding the royal insignia.
So far the team has uncovered 84 statues at Amenhotep’s funerary temple, including the giant head plus other depictions of Amenhotep III and his wife, Queen Tiye.
They’ll keep looking for more pieces of the colossal statue, but the site is so gigantic — 350,000 square meters (that’s over 3,767,000 square feet) — that who knows if they’ll be able to find them.
A unrelated but nonetheless neat little tidbit from the article:
Amenhotep was the wealthiest and most powerful of all the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. In a list compiled by American business and financial bible Forbes in 2008, he was ranked as the 12th richest person in human history.
I couldn’t find the Forbes article the factoid was allegedly derived from and other lists I’ve encountered don’t include pharaohs or Alexander the Great type people who “owned” basically everything.