A new head for an ancient statue

Fibreglass cast of a head of Amenhotep III

A cast of a quartzite head of Amenhotep III (King of Egypt, 1390-1352 BC), has been joined to the body of a colossal statue of the ruler, which was recently found at Kom el-Hettan, Egypt.

The fibreglass cast was made at the British Museum and hand-painted to match the colouring of the original statue. Excavations at the site near modern Luxor are part of the Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project (directed by Hourig Sourouzian).

Since 2000, the project has been working in the funerary temple of Amenhotep III, located behind the famous Colossi of Memnon. Long thought to hStanding statue of Amenhotep IIIave been thoroughly destroyed, it is now clear that significant parts of the temple survive, in particular some of the monumental statuary from its courts and gateways.

Recently, fragments of monumental sculpture that can be joined to pieces removed from the site in the early nineteenth century have been found, as well as more than 62 statues of the goddess Sekhmet, perhaps part of a group of 730 set up in this temple. A programme to lower the water table in the area, to ensure the remains are preserved, is also underway.

This project is one of a series of collaborations between the British Museum and the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt, including fieldwork and training initiatives.


Images courtesy Supreme Council of Antiquities, Egypt