A Giant Unearthed In Egypt

May 8, 2011 By Arati Rao

Amenhotep III displayed at the Sackler Museum. Photo courtesy Flickr CC: Wally Gobetz
Ancient Egypt was colossal - huge, in other words. When you visit sites like Luxor, Karnak, Thebes, Abu Simbel; this is what strikes you first. “Wow, everything is so big!” The best part about Ancient Egypt is that the story is constantly unfolding.

Where is this new statue?

Sailing down the Nile you see beautiful silent stone sentinels (guardians) of history and you can only marvel at their craftsmen. As you approach Luxor from Upper Egypt (near the Aswan dam) an awesome sight comes into view. On the right is the East Bank – with its famous Luxor and Karnak temples. On the left is the West Bank, with its tombs and funerary temples, set slightly back from the banks of the Nile.

And on the West Bank is where the most recent find has been made: a colossal statue of Amenhotep III – the grandfather of the more famous King Tut (the boy king, Tutankhamen). It is thought that Amenhotep III in his final years was suffering from an illness, which is why there are so many large statues of him and carvings shown with deities (gods) that have been discovered in Luxor over the years. This latest statue to be unearthed is nothing if not awesome.

It's big and is a re-discovery

Colossi of Memnon On the West Bank. Photo courtesy Flickr CC: Superblinkymac
It would stand 42 feet tall (that’s almost as high as a four-storeyed building) and is made of blocks of quartzite. The head has not been found yet, but the excavation goes on. Moreover, there is thought to be a twin statue to this one – making them a pair guarding the northern entrance to a very large temple complex – a 3,400 year-old building. It is thought that the newly uncovered statue will likely be like those at the Colossi of Memnon – the twin statues that you can see them as you drive up to Queen Hatshepsut’s temple.  

This statue of Amenhotep III was first unearthed in the 1970s by two Egyptologists (people who study ancient Egyptian history and unearth artifacts), documented and left buried in the sand (no one quite knows why).  During the next digging season the archeologists plan to look for the head and the twin statue.

The find is not the end!

Digging is only one part of the study of ancient Egypt. In fact, it is almost the easiest part. After the digging season is over, the hard and important work of documentation takes over. The archeologists painstakingly note all the important features of the excavated artifacts, where they were found (using GPS – global positioning systems) and other related pieces of information that will help build the story.

More importantly, they need to be able to tell who the statue is, when it might have been erected and discern the importance of it.  Fascinating work and one that keeps us very entertained and informed!

And here is a short video about architecture found on the banks of the Nile at Luxor.

megank2   1 year ago

Wow! That is so cool! I want to learn more!

Ashley12   3 years ago

Very interesting...

ashleym   5 years ago

Yes that's what I was thinking! If it was there so long how did rain not mess it up but that didn't occur to me! Thanks sierra

felipef   5 years ago

it is amazing how the ancient egyptians were able to sculpt these huge sculptures with their limited technology

ashleym   5 years ago


kenn   5 years ago

It`s a great piece of art work.

ashleym   5 years ago

no offense, but just putting it out there that is the ugliest thing EVERRR! I think that the history of the past is being discovered!!

mackenzies (not verified)   5 years ago

wow that thing was so ugly and big i wonder why the egyptians took so much time to build that

emaude   5 years ago

i love learning about ancient egypt it is one of my favorite topics it is super interestng and awesome

adrianr (not verified)   5 years ago

What about the Sphinx.

aaronm   5 years ago

did they just move and carve giant stones. i believe thats a lie, aliens did it because did u know that one of our most powerful aircrafts was a 200 b.c egyptian design that had been found ya there were aleins, who are one of the most smartest people in the world

abigailq   5 years ago

i agree sammy, nobody would pay attention or care about the detail work if they were small. Sandstorms, hidden mountain regions, large sand dunes and the constant chaging of sand mounds probably hid it

lydiaf   5 years ago

That seems SO cool!

dolphingirl   4 years ago

I agree

ashlynnm   5 years ago

i always wanted to learn about egypt history

Blagera (not verified)   3 years ago

I also agree,but wanted to learn about king tut's death?

sierrar   5 years ago

So did I but I takes a lot of time and you have to really have good resouces for you to have the correct informanation you wanted..or needed. But there are some awesome books at the library about their langauge and writing.

lydiaf   5 years ago


paigec   5 years ago

those show some things.. she has a very good point about Egypt.

luv2read   5 years ago

that is cool; I have always found Egyptian history interesting.

Rap   5 years ago

Um, I don't know where to report this, but there is a bug with the quiz question about this article. The question is who the statue depicts. The article says that it was Amenhotep III, grandfather of King Tut. But the quiz says that the correct answer was King Tut.

Editor   5 years ago

Oops, thanks for pointing it out! We will correct it right away :)

Rap   5 years ago

Egypt is amazing! I wonder if the revolution and stuff going on right now there is affecting how the archaeologists excavate the statues.

Editor   5 years ago

Good point. The recent unrest may have slowed down the pace of excavations. However at the end of the day, people need paid jobs. Since most excavations are funded, they will continue.

tate (not verified)   5 years ago

that would be hard for ancient Egyptians to make.

mirandat (not verified)   5 years ago

it's cool where they found them at

keelyk   5 years ago

The statue is a great piece of art work. All the work that went into the statue is great and should have been noticed more

Arjun   5 years ago

Each pharaoh leaves some imprint of their reign by building a massive monument, usually at Carnac. I think this colossal Amenhotep III statue is part of his structures.

Arjun   5 years ago

Amenhotep III was a great man, arguably the greatest pharaoh of Egypt's legendary New Dynasty. His greatest accomplishment were the stone scarabs, with all his accomplishments written down on them. Because he opted for peace and compromise rather than war, he is considered the world's first diplomat.

donivenh   5 years ago

i dont get this its all so confusing

kenn   5 years ago

Me too

isabellap   4 years ago

I found it pretty confusing too, but to see all those statues in the video was cool!

iron_roses   5 years ago

I agree Sammy, nobody would pay attention or care about the detail work if they were small. Sandstorms, hidden mountain regions, large sand dunes and the constant changing of sand mounds probably hid it.

Sammy02   5 years ago

What makes such statues imposing is their height and size. I don't think anyone would admire it as much if this statue fit in your palms. But, if it was so large, then why couldn't anyone spot it before?

sierrar   5 years ago

Due to wind and erosion and much more and lack of rain it probably sunk down in to the sand and then the sand was blown over it.

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