'Expertly crafted' statue of pharoah is dug up in Luxor

An ancient statue of Tutankhamun's grandfather has been unearthed from the west bank of the Nile in Egypt.

The 3,400-year-old limestone statue of Amenhotep III, a pharoah who ruled Egypt from about 1391 to 1351 BC, was found at Kom el-Hetan in the city of Luxor. It portrays the king wearing the double crown of Egypt and seated on a throne next to the god Amun. The statue, which is 4ft tall and is decorated with the image of a serpent, was located at the site of the pharoah's mortuary temple.

A statement by Egypt's Ministry of Culture described the statue as being of particularly good quality: "It is one of the best new finds in the area because of its expert craftsmanship."

Archaeologists working at the remains of the temple have managed to recover the upper half of the statue and are now carrying out further excavations in the hope of discovering the lower section. The find was made during a routine dig by an Egyptian team of archaeologists from the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Amenhotep III ruled in the 14th century BC at the height of Egypt's New Kingdom at a time of comparative wealth and stability when the empire reached from Nubia in the south to Syria in the north. Little remains of the original temple building but a wealth of artefacts has been dug up from the ruins, including two black granite statues of Amenhotep last year.

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