Washington, Dec 15 (ANI): An archeological team has begun uncovering rubble under which the largest known statue of Pharaoh Ramses II is buried in the southern Egyptian town of Sohag.
According to a report in Voice of America, the statue, which workers discovered more than 15 years ago, 476 kilometers miles south of Cairo, is finally being uncovered.
The Egyptian team had been hampered in its excavation work, until now, by the presence of a Muslim cemetery in the region of Akhmim across the Nile River from Sohag. rcheologists were finally able to begin their work when bodies from the modern-era cemetery were moved elsewhere.
Antiquities chief Zahi Hawass said the statue was the "largest of Ramses II" ever found in Egypt, and his team said the statue was part of a temple complex dedicated to Ramses II.
French Egyptologist Bruno Argemi of the Egyptian Archeological Society of Provence, France, said that Ramses II is one of the most important Pharaohs of Egypt's New Kingdom's 19th dynasty, which is the next to last dynasty of the era.
The reign of Ramses II was marked by major building projects and archeologists say that he is reputed to have built more buildings and statues in Egypt than any other pharaoh.
Ramses II ruled for approximately 67 years.
In addition to being known as a builder, Ramses II is also believed to have carved his name over the names of other Pharaohs to rededicate their statues to himself.
According to Argemi, the discovery of the new statue is also an important event, not only because of its colossal size, but because few other remnants of his reign have been found, to date, in the Middle Egyptian region of Sohag.
He said that Ramses II built many impressive temples and statues, including those of Abu Simbel and Athenis, so the discovery of one that is even larger than that of the 25 meter statue at Abu Simbel, is a major find.
Argemi also determined that many statues and temples of Ramses have been found in both Upper Egypt and the Delta region, but very few in Sohag, making this an unusual find. (ANI)