Egyptian archaeologists have made one of this century's most significant archaelogical finds, unearthing five statues at the temple of Luxor in southern Egypt, the scientists said Friday.
The archaeologists said the statues were found this week at the temple on the east bank of the Nile, 300 miles south of Cairo. They said the statues are in good condition and are about 3,400 years old.One of the statues, nearly all of which are life-size, is of King Amenphis III (1408-1372 B.C.), father of Akhnaton (1372-1354 B.C.) and one of the most powerful pharaohs of the New Kingdom.
The statue, believed the be the most important among the five, depicts Amenphis III wearing a crown of unified Egypt with a cobra on his forehead, apparently made of black granite.
The other statues found were:
-Queen Tiyi, Amenphis III's favorite wife, seated and wearing the crown of the goddess of beauty.
-General Horemheb, who became king after the reign of Akhnaton. The likeness is made of meteorite granite.
-Hathor, the Ancient Egyptian "joyous and smiling Goddess of happiness, dancing and music." The statue is made of black Diorite.
-An unidentified seated woman.
President Hosni Mubarak toured the site of the find, which an Egyptian archaeologist described as "one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th century."
Archaeologists think the statues were buried and hidden by the Luxor temple priests to prevent their destruction when Akhnaton introduced a change in religion.
The Egyptian Empire was at its height under the reign of the kings of the New Kingdom as it dominated the international scene by war and diplomacy and basked in luxury.