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Statue of Pharaoh Ramses II is found in a Cairo slum





Statue of Pharaoh Ramses II is found in a Cairo slum Statue of Pharaoh Ramses II is found in a Cairo slum
  • Researchers from Egypt and Germany found the bust of the statue and the lower part of the head
  • They also found upper part of a life-sized limestone statue of Pharaoh Seti II, Ramses II's grandson
  • Discovery was made in the working class area of Matariya among unfinished buildings and mud roads
  • It shows shows importance of the city of Heliopolis, dedicated to worship of Ra, the sun god 

Archaeologists from Egypt and Germany have found a massive 26ft (8 metre) statue submerged in ground water in a Cairo slum.

Researchers say it probably depicts revered Pharaoh Ramses II, who ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago.

The discovery, hailed by the Antiquities Ministry as one of the most important ever, was made near the ruins of Ramses II's temple in the ancient city of Heliopolis, located in the eastern part of modern-day Cairo.

Archaeologists from Egypt and Germany have found a massive 26ft (8 metre) statue submerged in ground water in a Cairo slum. Researchers say it probably depicts revered Pharaoh Ramses II, who ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago  Archaeologists from Egypt and Germany have found a massive 26ft (8 metre) statue submerged in ground water in a Cairo slum. Researchers say it probably depicts revered Pharaoh Ramses II, who ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago 

Archaeologists from Egypt and Germany have found a massive 26ft (8 metre) statue submerged in ground water in a Cairo slum. Researchers say it probably depicts revered Pharaoh Ramses II, who ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago 

WHAT DID THEY FIND? 

Archaeologists in a Cairo suburb - once the site of the ancient capital of Heliopolis - found two pharaonic statues dating back 3,000 years.

The statues are thought to represent Pharaohs from the 19th dynasty.

One statue stands 26ft (8 meters) tall and is carved out of quartzite, a tough stone composed mostly of quartz.

It could not be identified from its engravings but it was found at the entrance to the temple of King Ramses II - also known as Ramses the Great - suggesting it represents him.

The other relic is a limestone statue of 12th century BC ruler King Seti II.

The discovery of the two statues shows the importance of the city of Heliopolis, which was dedicated to the worship of Ra.  

'Last Tuesday they called me to announce the big discovery of a colossus of a king, most probably Ramses II, made out of quartzite,' Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani told Reuters on Thursday at the site of the statue's unveiling.

The most powerful and celebrated ruler of ancient Egypt, the pharaoh also known as Ramses the Great was the third of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt and ruled from 1279 to 1213 BCE.

He led several military expeditions and expanded the Egyptian Empire to stretch from Syria in the east to Nubia in the south. 

His successors called him the 'Great Ancestor'.

'We found the bust of the statue and the lower part of the head and now we removed the head and we found the crown and the right ear and a fragment of the right eye,' Anani said.

Yesterday, archaeologists, officials, local residents, and members of the news media looked on as a massive forklift pulled the statue's head out of the water

The joint Egyptian-German expedition also found the upper part of a life-sized limestone statue of Pharaoh Seti II, Ramses II's grandson, that is 80 centimetres long.

 
 

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT HELIOPOLIS?

Archaeologists  found the statue in Mattarya district, site of the ancient capital of Heliopolis.

The ruins of Heliopolis, which means 'city of the sun' in ancient Greek, are located in the north eastern part of modern-day Cairo.

The sun temple in Heliopolis was founded by Ramses II, lending weight to the likelihood the statue found on the site of the old city is of him.

Ancient Egyptians believed Heliopolis was the place where the sun god lives, meaning it was off-limits for any royal residences.

It was one of the largest temples in Egypt, almost double the size of Luxor's Karnak, but was destroyed in Greco-Roman times.

Many of its obelisks were moved to Alexandria or to Europe and stones from the site were looted and used for building as Cairo developed.

Researchers found the bust of the statue and the lower part of the head (pictured) yesterday. It is believed to be of Ramses the Great, the most powerful and celebrated ruler of ancient Egypt, who ruled from 1279 to 1213 BCE Researchers found the bust of the statue and the lower part of the head (pictured) yesterday. It is believed to be of Ramses the Great, the most powerful and celebrated ruler of ancient Egypt, who ruled from 1279 to 1213 BCE

Researchers found the bust of the statue and the lower part of the head (pictured) yesterday. It is believed to be of Ramses the Great, the most powerful and celebrated ruler of ancient Egypt, who ruled from 1279 to 1213 BCE

Egyptian minister of antiquates Khaled el-Anani poses for picture with workers next to the head of a statue at the site of a new discovery by a team of German-Egyptian archeologists in Cairo's Mattarya district Egyptian minister of antiquates Khaled el-Anani poses for picture with workers next to the head of a statue at the site of a new discovery by a team of German-Egyptian archeologists in Cairo's Mattarya district

Egyptian minister of antiquates Khaled el-Anani poses for picture with workers next to the head of a statue at the site of a new discovery by a team of German-Egyptian archeologists in Cairo's Mattarya district

The head of what is believed to be a mammoth statue of Ramses the Great is shown here. It was pulled from the mud and groundwater by a bulldozer The head of what is believed to be a mammoth statue of Ramses the Great is shown here. It was pulled from the mud and groundwater by a bulldozer

The head of what is believed to be a mammoth statue of Ramses the Great is shown here. It was pulled from the mud and groundwater by a bulldozer

The statue stands eight meters (26 feet) tall and is carved out of quartzite, a tough stone composed mostly of quartz grains. Pictured is part of the torso before it was recovered

The discovery, hailed by the Antiquities Ministry as one of the most important ever, was made near the ruins of Ramses II's temple in the ancient city of Heliopolis. Pictured are researchers digging out the statue of Ramses II The discovery, hailed by the Antiquities Ministry as one of the most important ever, was made near the ruins of Ramses II's temple in the ancient city of Heliopolis. Pictured are researchers digging out the statue of Ramses II

The discovery, hailed by the Antiquities Ministry as one of the most important ever, was made near the ruins of Ramses II's temple in the ancient city of Heliopolis. Pictured are researchers digging out the statue of Ramses II

WHO WAS RAMSES II? 

Ramses II, was king of Egypt from 1279 to 1213 BC and is also known as Ramses ‘the great’.

He ascended the throne as the third king of the Nineteenth Dynasty at the age of twenty-five.

It’s thought that during his 67 year reign, he built more temples and fathered more children than any other pharaoh.

He founded a new capital, Piramesse and built temples throughout Egypt and Nubia.

The most famous of these buildings is the Abu Simbel, cut into rock, and ‘the Ramesseum’ – his mortuary temple at Thebes.

The tomb of his principal wife, Nefertari, is one of the best preserved royal tombs and the resting place of some of his sons has recently been uncovered in the Valley of the Kings. 

The sun temple in Heliopolis was founded by Ramses II, lending weight to the likelihood the statue is of him, archaeologists say.

It was one of the largest temples in Egypt, almost double the size of Luxor's Karnak, but was destroyed in Greco-Roman times. 

Many of its obelisks were moved to Alexandria or to Europe and stones from the site were looted and used for building as Cairo developed.

Experts will now attempt to extract the remaining pieces of both statues before restoring them.

If they are successful and the colossus is proven to depict Ramses II, it will be moved to the entrance of the Grand Egyptian Museum, set to open in 2018. 

The discovery was made in the working class area of Matariya, among unfinished buildings and mud roads.

Dietrich Raue, head of the expedition's German team, told Reuters that ancient Egyptians believed Heliopolis was the place where the sun god lives, meaning it was off-limits for any royal residences.

'The sun god created the world in Heliopolis, in Matariya. That's what I always tell the people here when they say is there anything important. According to the pharaonic belief, the world was created in Matariya,' Raue said.

Experts will now attempt to extract the remaining pieces of the statue before restoring it. Ramses II ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago and was a great builder whose effigy can be seen at a string of archaeological sites across the country Experts will now attempt to extract the remaining pieces of the statue before restoring it. Ramses II ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago and was a great builder whose effigy can be seen at a string of archaeological sites across the country

Experts will now attempt to extract the remaining pieces of the statue before restoring it. Ramses II ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago and was a great builder whose effigy can be seen at a string of archaeological sites across the country

An Egyptian worker prepares to lift parts of a statue that they say likely depicts Pharaoh Ramses II. The head of the statue was submerged in ground water at the site of the king’s temple An Egyptian worker prepares to lift parts of a statue that they say likely depicts Pharaoh Ramses II. The head of the statue was submerged in ground water at the site of the king’s temple

An Egyptian worker prepares to lift parts of a statue that they say likely depicts Pharaoh Ramses II. The head of the statue was submerged in ground water at the site of the king’s temple

The find could be a boon for Egypt's tourism industry, which has suffered many setbacks since the uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011 but remains a vital source of foreign currency. Pictured are Egyptian works inspecting the statue The find could be a boon for Egypt's tourism industry, which has suffered many setbacks since the uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011 but remains a vital source of foreign currency. Pictured are Egyptian works inspecting the statue

The find could be a boon for Egypt's tourism industry, which has suffered many setbacks since the uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011 but remains a vital source of foreign currency. Pictured are Egyptian works inspecting the statue

Ramses II was king of Egypt from 1279 to 1213 BC and is also known as Ramses the great. Egyptian workers lift  part of the head of a statue, which they believe depicts him, with an excavator Ramses II was king of Egypt from 1279 to 1213 BC and is also known as Ramses the great. Egyptian workers lift  part of the head of a statue, which they believe depicts him, with an excavator

Ramses II was king of Egypt from 1279 to 1213 BC and is also known as Ramses the great. Egyptian workers lift part of the head of a statue, which they believe depicts him, with an excavator

The sun temple in Heliopolis was founded by Ramses II, lending weight to the likelihood the statue is of him, archaeologists say. Pictured is a part of an ancient Egyptian obelisk from the temple unearthed on Thursday is seen in the Matariya area in Cairo The sun temple in Heliopolis was founded by Ramses II, lending weight to the likelihood the statue is of him, archaeologists say. Pictured is a part of an ancient Egyptian obelisk from the temple unearthed on Thursday is seen in the Matariya area in Cairo

The sun temple in Heliopolis was founded by Ramses II, lending weight to the likelihood the statue is of him, archaeologists say. Pictured is a part of an ancient Egyptian obelisk from the temple unearthed on Thursday is seen in the Matariya area in Cairo

During Ramses the great's 67 year reign, he is believed to have built more temples and fathered more children than any other pharaoh During Ramses the great's 67 year reign, he is believed to have built more temples and fathered more children than any other pharaoh

During Ramses the great's 67 year reign, he is believed to have built more temples and fathered more children than any other pharaoh

The sun temple  in Heliopolis was founded by Ramses II, lending weight to the likelihood the statue is of him, archaeologists say. It was one of the largest temples in Egypt, almost double the size of Luxor's Karnak, but was destroyed in Greco-Roman times The sun temple  in Heliopolis was founded by Ramses II, lending weight to the likelihood the statue is of him, archaeologists say. It was one of the largest temples in Egypt, almost double the size of Luxor's Karnak, but was destroyed in Greco-Roman times

The sun temple  in Heliopolis was founded by Ramses II, lending weight to the likelihood the statue is of him, archaeologists say. It was one of the largest temples in Egypt, almost double the size of Luxor's Karnak, but was destroyed in Greco-Roman times

The number of tourists visiting Egypt slumped to 9.8 million in 2011 from more than 14.7 million in 2010. Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled E Nany (pictured kneeling left) inspects the findings, which could help to reinvigorate tourism The number of tourists visiting Egypt slumped to 9.8 million in 2011 from more than 14.7 million in 2010. Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled E Nany (pictured kneeling left) inspects the findings, which could help to reinvigorate tourism

The number of tourists visiting Egypt slumped to 9.8 million in 2011 from more than 14.7 million in 2010. Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled E Nany (pictured kneeling left) inspects the findings, which could help to reinvigorate tourism

'That means everything had to be built here. Statues, temples, obelisks, everything. But ... the king never lived in Matariya, because it was the sun god living here.'

The find could be a boon for Egypt's tourism industry, which has suffered many setbacks since the uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011 but remains a vital source of foreign currency. The number of tourists visiting Egypt slumped to 9.8 million in 2011 from more than 14.7 million in 2010.

A bomb attack that brought down a Russian plane carrying 224 people from a Red Sea resort in October 2015 further hit arrivals, which dropped to 1.2 million in the first quarter of 2016 from 2.2 million a year earlier.

The discovery has excited the local community, with many posing for images alongside the mammoth statue found on Thursday The discovery has excited the local community, with many posing for images alongside the mammoth statue found on Thursday

The discovery has excited the local community, with many posing for images alongside the mammoth statue found on Thursday

Workers spent hours digging out the giant statue, which is described as one of the most important discoveries every made in the region Workers spent hours digging out the giant statue, which is described as one of the most important discoveries every made in the region
Workers spent hours digging out the giant statue, which is described as one of the most important discoveries every made in the region Workers spent hours digging out the giant statue, which is described as one of the most important discoveries every made in the region

Workers spent hours digging out the giant statue, which is described as one of the most important discoveries every made in the region

Dietrich Raue, head of the expedition's German team, said that ancient Egyptians believed Heliopolis was the place where the sun god lives, meaning it was off-limits for any royal residences. Workers are shown here digging for more relics int he area Dietrich Raue, head of the expedition's German team, said that ancient Egyptians believed Heliopolis was the place where the sun god lives, meaning it was off-limits for any royal residences. Workers are shown here digging for more relics int he area

Dietrich Raue, head of the expedition's German team, said that ancient Egyptians believed Heliopolis was the place where the sun god lives, meaning it was off-limits for any royal residences. Workers are shown here digging for more relics int he area

Archaeologists from Egypt and Germany found the statue in Mattarya district, site of the ancient capital of Heliopolis and today a sprawl of working class districts in northeastern Cairo Archaeologists from Egypt and Germany found the statue in Mattarya district, site of the ancient capital of Heliopolis and today a sprawl of working class districts in northeastern Cairo

Archaeologists from Egypt and Germany found the statue in Mattarya district, site of the ancient capital of Heliopolis and today a sprawl of working class districts in northeastern Cairo

A boy rides his bicycle past a recently discovered statue in a Cairo slum that may be of pharaoh Ramses II, in Cairo A boy rides his bicycle past a recently discovered statue in a Cairo slum that may be of pharaoh Ramses II, in Cairo

A boy rides his bicycle past a recently discovered statue in a Cairo slum that may be of pharaoh Ramses II, in Cairo

People gather near water which covered the site of a recently discovered statue in a Cairo slum. Egyptologist Khaled Nabil Osman said the statue was an People gather near water which covered the site of a recently discovered statue in a Cairo slum. Egyptologist Khaled Nabil Osman said the statue was an

People gather near water which covered the site of a recently discovered statue in a Cairo slum. Egyptologist Khaled Nabil Osman said the statue was an "impressive find" and that the area is likely full of other buried antiquities

Massive statues of the warrior-king can be seen in Luxor, and his most famous monument is found in Abu Simbel, near Sudan. Pictured is the latest discovery in Cairo  Massive statues of the warrior-king can be seen in Luxor, and his most famous monument is found in Abu Simbel, near Sudan. Pictured is the latest discovery in Cairo 

Massive statues of the warrior-king can be seen in Luxor, and his most famous monument is found in Abu Simbel, near Sudan. Pictured is the latest discovery in Cairo 

People walk past the recently discovered statue in a Cairo slum that may be of pharaoh Ramses II. The discovery was made by a joint effort between Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities and researchers from the University of Leipzig People walk past the recently discovered statue in a Cairo slum that may be of pharaoh Ramses II. The discovery was made by a joint effort between Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities and researchers from the University of Leipzig

People walk past the recently discovered statue in a Cairo slum that may be of pharaoh Ramses II. The discovery was made by a joint effort between Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities and researchers from the University of Leipzig

The quartzite colossus of Ramses II is seen after they were discovered at the ancient Heliopolis archaeological site in Matareya area in Cairo, Egypt The quartzite colossus of Ramses II is seen after they were discovered at the ancient Heliopolis archaeological site in Matareya area in Cairo, Egypt

The quartzite colossus of Ramses II is seen after they were discovered at the ancient Heliopolis archaeological site in Matareya area in Cairo, Egypt

 Most of what was once Heliopolis is now covered with residential buildings. Locals in this image inspect the latest discovery  Most of what was once Heliopolis is now covered with residential buildings. Locals in this image inspect the latest discovery

 Most of what was once Heliopolis is now covered with residential buildings. Locals in this image inspect the latest discovery

Egypt Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany (centre) and Head of the German group Archaeologist Dietrich Rauo (right) visit the ancient Heliopolis archaeological site in Matareya following the discovery Egypt Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany (centre) and Head of the German group Archaeologist Dietrich Rauo (right) visit the ancient Heliopolis archaeological site in Matareya following the discovery

Egypt Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany (centre) and Head of the German group Archaeologist Dietrich Rauo (right) visit the ancient Heliopolis archaeological site in Matareya following the discovery

Once the statue has been analysed, it will be moved to the entrance of the Grand Egyptian Museum, which is expected to open in 2018 Once the statue has been analysed, it will be moved to the entrance of the Grand Egyptian Museum, which is expected to open in 2018

Once the statue has been analysed, it will be moved to the entrance of the Grand Egyptian Museum, which is expected to open in 2018

Dietrich Raue, head of the expedition's German team, told Reuters that ancient Egyptians believed Heliopolis was the place where the sun god lives, meaning it was off-limits for any royal residences. Pictured is the head of the statue Dietrich Raue, head of the expedition's German team, told Reuters that ancient Egyptians believed Heliopolis was the place where the sun god lives, meaning it was off-limits for any royal residences. Pictured is the head of the statue

Dietrich Raue, head of the expedition's German team, told Reuters that ancient Egyptians believed Heliopolis was the place where the sun god lives, meaning it was off-limits for any royal residences. Pictured is the head of the statue

Egyptologist Khaled Nabil Osman said that the massive head removed from the ground was made in the style that Ramses was depicted, and was likely him Egyptologist Khaled Nabil Osman said that the massive head removed from the ground was made in the style that Ramses was depicted, and was likely him

Egyptologist Khaled Nabil Osman said that the massive head removed from the ground was made in the style that Ramses was depicted, and was likely him

Archaeologists working under difficult conditions in Cairo had to recovered the ancient statue submerged in mud Archaeologists working under difficult conditions in Cairo had to recovered the ancient statue submerged in mud

Archaeologists working under difficult conditions in Cairo had to recovered the ancient statue submerged in mud

Yesterday, archaeologists, officials, local residents, and members of the news media looked on as a massive forklift pulled the statue's head out of the water Yesterday, archaeologists, officials, local residents, and members of the news media looked on as a massive forklift pulled the statue's head out of the water

Yesterday, archaeologists, officials, local residents, and members of the news media looked on as a massive forklift pulled the statue's head out of the water

The University of Leipzig, who helped make the discovery, has been working in ancient Heliopolis for more than a decade. Pictured is part of the head of the statue  The University of Leipzig, who helped make the discovery, has been working in ancient Heliopolis for more than a decade. Pictured is part of the head of the statue 

The University of Leipzig, who helped make the discovery, has been working in ancient Heliopolis for more than a decade. Pictured is part of the head of the statue 

 

 

 

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