Newly Unearthed Sphinx May Have Face of Roman Emperor

It was found in a temple south of Cairo
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 6, 2023 2:56 PM CST
Sphinx-Like Statue Found South of Cairo
In this photo distributed by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, a sphinx statue believed to be made in the likeness of a Roman emperor is uncovered at an archaeological site in Qena, Egypt.   (Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities via AP)

Archaeologists have unearthed a Sphinx-like statue and the remains of a shrine in an ancient temple in southern Egypt, antiquities authorities said Monday. The artifacts were found in the temple of Dendera in Qena Province, 280 miles south of Cairo, the Antiquities Ministry said in a statement. Archaeologists believe the statue's smiling features may belong to the Roman emperor Claudius, who extended Rome's rule into North Africa between 41 and 54 AD, the ministry said. It said archaeologists will conduct more studies on the markings on the stone slab, which could reveal more information on the statue's identity.

The statue is much smaller than the towering, well-known Sphinx in the Pyramids of Giza complex, which is 66 feet high, the AP reports. The archaeologists also found a Roman-era stone slab with demotic and hieroglyphic inscriptions. The limestone shrine includes a two-layer platform and a mud-brick basin from the Byzantine era, the ministry said. (In January, archaeologists discovered what they said may be "the oldest and most complete mummy found in Egypt to date.")

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