Thursday, May 6, 2010

Archaeologists in Egypt find Ptolemaic king statue

Archaeologists in Egypt say they have discovered a headless granite statue more than 2000 years old belonging to an unidentified Ptolemaic-era king.
Tuesday's statement by the Supreme Council of Antiquities says an Egyptian-Dominican team made the discovery at the temple of Taposiris Magna, west of the coastal city of Alexandria.
Archaeology chief Zahi Hawas says the well-preserved statue may be among the most beautiful carvings in the ancient Egyptian style. He says the statue could belong to King Ptolemy IV.
The statue's height is 135 centimeters and its width at the shoulders is 55 centimeters.
Alexandria was the seat of the Greek-speaking Ptolemaic Dynasty, which ruled Egypt for 300 years, until the suicide of Queen Cleopatra.
headless granite 

The Egyptian-Dominican team spent the past five years trying to locate the last resting place of Cleopatra and Mark Antony, the Roman general who became Cleopatra’s lover and had three children with her.
The couple supposedly committed suicide after their combined forces were defeated by Roman Emperor Octavian in the Battle of Actium more than two millennia ago.
While excavating the site --a radar survey of the temple has identified three spots where a burial chamber might lie deep underground -- the archaeologists have unearthed several significant artifacts. These include a number of headless royal statues, which may have been subjected to destruction during the Byzantine and Christian eras, a collection of heads featuring Queen Cleopatra, and 24 metal coins bearing Cleopatra’s profile.
Behind the crumbling temple, a necropolis was also discovered, containing many Graeco-Roman style mummies. Early investigations, said Hawass, show that the mummies were buried with their faces turned toward the temple, which means that a significant royal personality could be buried inside the temple.
“All these findings are leading us to the discovery of the tomb of Cleopatra. They show that something important is waiting for us inside the temple,”

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