Parts of Buried Ramses II Statues Discovered in Ancient Heliopolis, Egypt

CAIRO – Minister of Antiquities Dr. Khaled El-Enany witnessed on Thursday the lifting of two newly discovered 19th dynasty royal statues from a pit at Souq Al-Khamis district in Al-Matareya area, Ain Shams. The statues were found in parts in the vicinity of King Ramses II temple in ancient Heliopolis (Oun)Sun Temples by a German-Egyptian archaeological mission.

Dr. Mahmoud Afifi, Head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities at the Ministry said that the first statue includes of a 80cm tall bust of king Seti II carved in limestone with fine facial features. While the second is 8 meters long and carved in quartzite.

Although there is not any engravings that could identify such a statue, its existence at the entrance of King Ramses II temple suggests that it could belong to him.

Dr. Aymen Ashmawy, Head of the Egyptian team describes the discovery as “very important” because it shows that Oun Sun temple was enormous with magnificent structure, distinguished engravings, soaring colossi and obelisks.

Regretfully, Oun Sun Temple was subjected to damages during the Greaco-Roman time as most of its obelisks and colossi were transported to Alexandria and Europe. During the Islamic era, the blocks of the temple were used in the construction of Historic Cairo.

DR. Dietrich Raue, head of the German mission said that the mission is working hard to lift-up the newly discovered statues to be transported to the Matariya obelisk archaeological site for restoration. More excavation works to search for other statues and artefacts are taking place to reveal more of the city secrets.

At the archaeological site, Dr. El-Enany announced that the statue suggested to be for King Ramses II would be transported to the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) for restoration in order to put on display within the GEM displaying Scenario.

Dr. El-Enany pointed out that the newly discovered artefacts in site would be put in a temporary exhibition at the Egyptian Museum.