Egyptian Statues Revealed in Ancient Shrines
"The shrine in fact is the best preserved of all 32 cenotaphs at Gebel el Silsila," associate director John Ward said.
Seated and placed within a niche, the archaeologists found four well-preserved statues, two male and two females.
"The main male figure, depicted with his arms in the Osirian position, is the owner of the shrine, Neferkhewe," Nilsson and Ward said.
Active during the reign of Thutmosis III, Neferkhewe is described within the shrine as "the overseer of the foreign lands" and "chief of the medjay (a region in northern Sudan)."
He wears a shoulder-length wig and is also portrayed with enlarged ears, sunken eyes large nose and lips, all set within a rounded face.
Neferkhewe's wife, Ruiuresti, sits to the far left. Boasting facial features similar to those of her husband, she is portrayed with her arm around his Neferkhewe, holding an object in her other hand.
The two remaining statues, seated on the right side, likely portray the couple's children, a daughter and a son.
According to the archaeologists these two carvings were remodeled during antiquity due to severe damage caused by fracturing to the sandstone.
"The statues are very finely carved, but were damaged and rubbed down by the tides of the water and years of being packed under silt," Nilsson said.
Preliminary results of the translations of the hieroglyphic texts and titles indicate that the names of the two children are not previously known.
"The identity of the son is not that of the famous son of Neferkhewe and Ruiuresti, Menkheperresonb, who is known from other sources," Nilsson and Ward said
The archaeologists also discovered relief scenes on both the northern and the southern walls of Shrine 31.
There, Neferkhewe and Ruiuresti remain the main subjects. They are seated upon thrones and are portrayed receiving offerings from their children.
General Manager of Aswan Archaeological Area, Nasr Salama said Nilsson's team will continue the excavation work in the attempt to discover more inside the 32 chapels of Gebel el Sisila.