Jan Bartek – AncientPages.com – During an excavation in Egypt’s Minya Governorate, archaeologists discovered a massive statue of Pharaoh Ramesses II, who reigned during the 19th Dynasty of Egypt (1292–1190 B.C.). Today, Ramesses II is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential and powerful pharaohs in ancient Egyptian history. He led numerous military campaigns into the Levant, re-establishing Egyptian dominance over Canaan and extending it to Nubia in the south.

Huge Statue Of Pharaoh Ramesses II Unearted In The Ancient City Of Hermopolis

El Minya, Egypt. Credit: Adobe Stock – Sergey

One of his most notable historical events was his participation in the Battle of Kadesh against Hittite king Muwatallish. With a strong belief in his destined greatness and desire for enduring remembrance after his death, it is unsurprising that large statues commemorating Pharaoh Ramesses II continue to be unearthed by archaeologists today.

The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities recently announced that a joint Egyptian-American Archaeological Mission has made an exciting discovery in the Ashmonine region. The team unearthed the upper part of a significant statue in the ancient city of Hermopolis, situated on the border between Lower and Upper Egypt. This city, known as “The City of Hermes” by ancient Greeks and Khmunu or “City of the Eight” by ancient Egyptians, was home to eight deities known as Ogdoad. The center had also its Coptic name ‘shmun’ (means ‘eight’ in Middle Egypt) .

Various interpretations of Egyptian creation myths suggest that the Ogdoad, a group of eight entities, were responsible for creating the first hill, lotus flower or cosmic egg. It is from these creations that the sun god, often considered as the supreme creator in Egyptian mythology, is believed to have originated.

Thoth, god of learning and patron of scribes, was worshipped here. Although parts of this expansive site have been investigated before – notably during the German Hermopolis expedition from 1929 to 1939 which revealed parts of Thoth’s temple along with substantial Hellenistic and Roman remains – there is still much more to discover.

Huge Statue Of Pharaoh Ramesses II Unearted In The Ancient City Of Hermopolis

Credit: Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

The unearthed portion of the statue, crafted from limestone and standing at approximately 3.8 meters tall, depicts Pharaoh Ramesses II seated with a double crown and a headpiece featuring a regal cobra. Hieroglyphic inscriptions adorning the upper part of the statue’s back column sing praises to the King, suggesting that once its base is attached, this majestic piece could tower up to around 7 meters in height.

Huge Statue Of Pharaoh Ramesses II Unearted In The Ancient City Of Hermopolis

A depiction of the Ogdoad from a Roman era relief at the Hathor temple in Dendera in which some have frog heads and others have serpent heads. Credit: Olaf Tausch – CC BY 3.0

Dr. Yufona Tranka, who leads the American mission, highlighted their success in their first excavation season in the region. The archaeologists managed to restore and reassemble massive granite columns situated on the north side of the Basilica of Ashmonine. Interestingly, this basilica was constructed over the ruins of the Temple of Talmi and dedicated to Virgin Mary around 6th century A.D.

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Dr. Adel Akasha, the leader of the Central Directorate of Archaeology in Central Egypt, has announced that excavation efforts began in the area last year. The goal is to reveal the religious hub of Ashmonine city from the modern state era through to the Roman era.

This site includes several temples, one of which belongs to King Ramesses II. Dr. Akasha emphasized that uncovering a fragment of King Ramesses II’s statue underscores this site’s significance and hints at more archaeological discoveries yet to be made in future excavations.

Written by Jan Bartek – AncientPages.com Staff Writer

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