A life-size statue of Ramses II, dating from the 19th dynasty (1295-1186 B.C.), has recently been unearthed in the Nile Delta town of Tel-Basta, Egypt. The discovery was made by an Eygptian-German team in the the temple of the cat goddess Bastet in the Sharkiya province, some 53 miles (85 kilometres) north-east of Cairo.
The statue, accidentally discovered during excavation works at the Great Temple’s eastern side, is made of red granite. It measures 195 centimetres high and 160 wide. Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim explained that it depicts Ramses II, the 3rd and most powerful Pharaoh in Egypt, standing between the goddesses Hathor and Petah. On the back, there are also hieroglyphic engravings and the cartouche of the king.
The Goddess Bastet Temple, where the statue was discovered, is one of Egypt’s oldest archaeological sites. Artefacts dating as far back as the 4th dynasty (2613 to 2494 BC) have been uncovered there. The Minister explained that it it was previously a place of great religious importance.
Finally, a statue carved in sandstone of an unidentified New Kingdom top official from the 19th dynasty, was also unearthed by the team. The hieroglyphic text on the back indicates that it was an offering to the god horakhti, and the goddesses bastet and sekhmet. The piece measures 35cm in height and 25cm wide.
The Eygptian authorities believe that their recent findings will lead to the discovery of a New Kingdom Temple dedicated to King Ramses II.