Monday, March 2, 2009

Statue of Amenhotep Rises Again

Glad to see this. From the Times March 2, 2009 Amenhotep III statue rises again Norman Hammond, Archaeology Correspondent One of Egypt’s most noted Pharaohs is once more standing tall and looking out across the Nile Valley, by the efforts of an international team and a little help from the British Museum. A colossal statue of Amenhotep III, grandfather of Tutankhamun and ruler of Egypt for more than 36 years, has been raised and given back his head. The red quartzite statue, one of a set that stood around the courtyard of his funerary temple at Kom el-Hettan, near Luxor, fell centuries ago. In the early 19th century the British collector Henry Salt acquired its head, together with a second head from the same site, and both finished up in the British Museum; the museum published Salt’s manuscript on some of his work in the recent book The Sphinx Revealed. The statue was one of a set that stood on the north side of the peristyle court of the temple, and shows Amenhotep III (reigned 1386-49BC) wearing the red crown of Lower Egypt. The south side of the court had similar statues, but wearing the white crown of Upper Egypt. The raw material for the northern statues came from Gebel el-Akmar in northern Egypt, that for the southern ones from the red granite quarries of Aswan in the far south. Both types showed Amenhotep III with arms crossed and holding the insignia of rulership. “Since the start of our work at the temple we have collected and grouped large parts of the torsos with thousands of smaller fragments,” Dr Hourig Sourouzian, of the Armenian Academy of Sciences, reports in Egyptian Archaeology. “In 2008 we added parts of the chest and completed the statue with an exact replica of one of the two heads now in the British Museum.” Michael Nielson, of the British Museum, made the replica head, which was then transported to Egypt and repositioned on top of the restored torso with the permission of the Egyptian authorities. The project, which has already assembled large portions of other statues, of which there were probably a dozen, involved a team of 30 from a dozen nationalities, and continues its work this year. Egyptian Archaeology 33: 33-35.

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