Smiley, Dimpled Sphinx, excavated in Egypt
CAIRO: Archaeologists in Egypt have unearthed a sphinx statue “with a smiley face and two dimples” near the Temple of Hathor, one of the country’s best-preserved ancient sites, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said.
It’s the latest in a series of discoveries unveiled in recent months.
The limestone artifact, believed to be a stylized representation of an ancient Roman emperor, was found in a two-story tomb near the temple in southern Egypt, the ministry said in a statement Monday.
In addition to the “beautifully and accurately carved” sphinx, the researchers found “a Roman stele written in demotic and hieroglyphic scripts,” the ministry statement said.
Once fully deciphered, the stele could shed light on the identity of the sculpted ruler, who the Egyptian research team says could be Emperor Claudius.
The Temple of Hathor, about 500 kilometers south of the capital Cairo, was home to the Dendera Zodiac, a celestial map that has been on display at the Louvre in Paris since 1922, more than a century after Frenchman Sebastien Louis Saulnier blasted it out of the temple .
The country has made significant archaeological discoveries in recent months, most notably at the necropolis of Sakkara south of Cairo, but also in Giza, home to the only surviving structure of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
On Thursday, the Antiquities Ministry announced the discovery of a hidden 30-foot passage in the Great Pyramid of Giza that archaeologist Zahi Hawass said could lead to the “actual burial chamber” of Pharaoh Khufu, or Cheops.
Further south, in Luxor, archaeologists had uncovered a 1,800-year-old “complete Roman-era dwelling city,” authorities said in January.
Some experts see such announcements as carrying more political and economic weight than scientific weight, as Egypt is banking on tourism to revitalize its vital tourism industry amid a severe economic crisis.
The government aims to attract 30 million tourists annually by 2028, up from 13 million before the pandemic.
Source: Crypto News Deutsch