In Photos: Egyptian archaeological mission uncovers smiling sphinx in Qena
Nevine El-Aref , Monday 6 Mar 2023
An Egyptian archaeological mission from Ain Shams University uncovered a smiling sphinx of a Roman emperor and remains of a shrine during excavation work carried out today at the eastern side of Dendara Temple in Qena, where Horus Temple was once located.
Former minister of antiquities and professor of Egyptology at Ain Shams University Mamdouh El-Damaty said the remains of the shrine are carved in limestone and consist of a two-level platform with foundations and a ramp. In the shrine a mudbrick Byzantine basin with a ladder covered with plaster was found. During cleaning, a smiling sphinx carved in limestone was uncovered in the basin.
"It is a beautifully and accurately carved sphinx," said El-Damaty, explaining that it bears royal facial features with a smiling face and two dimples. The statue wears the nemes on his head with the cobra shaped ureas.
"Primary examination of the statue shows that it could belong to the Roman emperor Claudianoius," El-Damaty said, adding that a Roman stelae written in Demotic and Hieroglyphic was also unearthed beneath the statue.
Studies will be carried out to read the stelae which could reveal the identity of the statue or the secrets of the area.
The mission, which started its excavation work in November, will continue its work in the area to uncover more of the Horus Temple blocks.
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