A collection of 27 fragmented statues of the lioness goddess Sekhmet has been uncovered during excavation work at the King Amenhotep III funerary temple at the Kom El-Hettan area on Luxor’s west bank.
The discovery was made by an Egyptian-European archaeological mission led by archaeologist Hourig Sourouzian as part of the King Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project.
The black-granite statues have a maximum height of about two metres. Some statues depict Sekhmet sitting on a throne, holding the symbol of life in her left hand, while others show her standing and holding a papyrus sceptre before her chest. The head of Sekhmet is crowned with a sun-disk, while a uraeus adorns her forehead.
The discovery includes many almost complete statues with only the feet and base missing.
The importance and quality of the statues explains why they survived a period of extensive quarrying of the temple remains in the Ramesside Period, after a heavy earthquake had toppled the walls and the columns of the temple in 1200 B.C.
The King Amenhotep III temple is the largest of its kind. It was once a magnificent structure with an unprecedented number of royal and divine statues, among them hundreds of statues of Sekhmet.
Sekhment, whose name means “Powerful One”, is one of three figures in the Triad of Memphis sculpture, which also features Ptah and Ramses III.