?Submerged,’ millennium-old statue unveiled

The 8m tall head and bust is believed to depict one of Egypt’s ancient pharaohs, Psamtek I, who ruled the country between 664 and 610 BC, after archaeologists found an inscription of one of Psmatek’s five names on the statue.

“It’s part of protocol, each pharaoh had five titles followed by five names,” the Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled al-Anani said.

The discovery was made beneath the streets of a working class neighbourhood in Cairo, among unfinished buildings and mud roads, according to Dietrich Raue who heads the German team of archaeologists involved in the excavation.

"It was in an area that was almost completely investigated," he said.

“The team had found basalt bases in the dilapidated courtyard, but nothing more substantial. We thought [the pit] would be empty without any features… so that was a great surprise."

Khaled al-Anani provided details on the important archaeological evidence discovered, which included the statue’s bust and portion of the head that featured the right ear, eye and crown.

A smaller, life-size limestone depiction was also found during the excavation that measured in at 78cm tall.

“It is one of the most important excavations in Egypt,” Dr Salima Ikram, archaeologist and professor of Egyptology at Cairo’s American University, told Observer News.

Ikram, who took part in the expedition, went on to describe the find as ‘spectacular’ and ‘astonishing’.

“This ongoing work at the site is crucially important because it is the birthplace of the Sun God and indeed of Egypt and its civilisation in terms of Egyptian mythology,” she said.

Raue agreed with Ikram, also telling Observer News, “According to the pharaonic belief, the world was created in Matariya.”

According to reports, experts will now attempt to extract the remaining pieces of the statues before restoring them both.

The statue will later be moved to Egypt’s Grand Egyptian Museum in the entrance.

The Grand Egyptian Museum (also known as the Giza Museum) is set to host Egypt’s ancient artefacts and will open in 2018.

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