The Egyptian-German archaeological mission headed by Dr. Horig Sorosian succeeded, during the current archaeological season, during the ongoing work of restoring the statues of Memnon and the funerary temple of King Amenhotep III, known as the “Temple of Millions of Years” on the western bank of Nile in Luxor, in discovering a group of huge stones for two royal statues in the form of Sphinx and the goddess Sekhmet, in addition to discovering the remains of walls and columns decorated with ceremonial and ritual scenes.
This was stated by Dr. Mustafa Waziri, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, explaining that among the discovered pieces were parts of two colossal limestone statues of King Amenhotep III in the form of a Sphinx, wearing a mongoose headdress, a royal beard, and a wide necklace around the neck, which were found in the back area of the Third Pylon gate. Waziri indicated that all the pieces of these two statues have undergone careful cleaning, strengthening and restoration, which showed the an inscription in the chest area bearing the royal name of Amenhotep III, which is "the beloved of the god Amun-Ra".
He added that the mission also found three black granite busts of the goddess Sekhmet, at the front of the opened courtyard, and the great pillared hall of the temple. These pieces will be grouped with other pieces found earlier at the site, in preparation for showed them in their original places in the temple.
This is in addition to the discovery of a number of inscriptions on a sandstone wall with scenes representing celebrations for Heb-sed festival and a small black granite statue of an employee sitting perhaps next to his wife. Studies have indicated that it is likely that this statue dates back to the after Amarna period when the restoration works continued in this temple by artists and writers .
Also, some bases for columns and stone blocks were found in the southern area of the great pillared hall, which shows that this hall was larger than what is known with more columns.
These pieces were moved from the places they were discovered inside the temple for restoration and re-installation, where the original colors of many of them appeared, in preparation for re-placing them in their original places in the temple.
Dr. Horig Sorosian, head of the mission, emphasized the importance of this discovery, as the discovery of two huge Sphinx statues confirms the presence of the beginning of the procession road, which lies between the third pylon of the temple and the courtyard, in which the celebrations of the Beautiful Valley Festival were held every year. As well as the celebrations of Heb-sed festival.
She pointed out that the prime studies conducted by the mission on the two statues of the Great Sphinx showed that their length is approximately 8 meters.
It should be noted that the project of restoring the statues of Memnon and the temple of King Amenhotep III began in 1998 under the supervision of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and the German Institute of Archeology to preserve the remains of the temple and rebuild it again. The mission previously found many huge statues of the goddess Sekhmet and King Amenhotep III and his wife" Queen Ty". It is known that King Amenhotep III had established his mortuary temple, which he called the Temple of Millions of Years, on the western bank of Nile in Luxor, but it was destroyed as a result of an earthquake that swept the country during ancient Egyptian period