Amenhotep III’s Head: Size Does Matter
A team of European and Egyptian archeologists excavating the funerary temple of Amenhotep III have discovered a giant disembodied head belonging to a giant statue of the 3000 year old king of kings.
“The find – made by the Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project – was announced on Monday by Egyptian Culture Minister Farouk Hosni. Measuring 2.5 metres, made from solid red granite and depicting Amenhotep III wearing the Upper Egyptian white crown, it has been described in a press statement by Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities Zahi Hawass as a “masterpiece of highly artistic quality”.
The head, added Hawass, is a “portrait of the king with very fine youthful sculptured features”. It was sheared from the body statue at the chin and neck. The body statue – fragments of which are currently in restoration – is believed to showAmenhotep III in a standing position, with his hands crossed over his chest and holding the royal insignia.
Dr. Hourig Sourouzian, Leader of the project at Amenhotep III’s funerary temple, said that more of the statue may still lie in the rubble of the enormous ruined monument, which is one of the biggest man-made structures in ancient history. Measuring 700 metres long and 500 metres wide, and covering an area of 350,000 square metres – it was ten times larger than any other mortuary monument in Egypt.
Investigation and restoration of Amenhotep III’s funerary temple is expected to take upwards of 20 years. 84 statues have been unearthed there already, among them representations of King Amenhotep III and his wife, Queen Tiye.
Queen Tiye’s mummy was recently identified by Dr Hawass and a team of scientists as part of a painstaking medical and archaeological endeavour to map the family history of Tutankhamun. The results will be revealed in the Discovery Channel’s documentary King Tut Unwrapped, which will air this Wednesday and Thursday in the UK.
The project also determined that Amenhotep III – ninth pharaoh of the 18th dynasty, ruler of Egypt between 1390 BC and 1352 BC – was King Tut’s grandfather. The boy king is believed to have been born of an incestuous marriage between Akhenaten and his sister, both the offspring of Amenhotep III.
Amenhotep was the wealthiest and most powerful of all the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. In a list compiled by American business and financial bible Forbes in 2008, he was ranked as the 12th richest person in human history.”
I wish I could find the Forbes article referenced in the story. I don’t know who the first richest person was in human history, but I’m going to guess Alexander the Great, if you’re talking about “owning”, well, just plain everything.