New stone ram heads found in Egypt’s Luxor

CAIRO — Mustafa al-Waziri, the Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), lately revealed the invention of recent stone ram heads throughout excavation work on the Avenue of Sphinxes (also called el-Kebash Road).

In a Facebook publish on Oct. 7, Waziri posted photographs of the newly discovered stone ram heads and different stone statues.

“The archaeological mission operating in el-Assasif area on the western mainland in the Luxor governorate found three ram heads. The mission continues its excavation work in the area as part of the project to restore el-Kebash Road, which is expected to open in the coming weeks,” Waziri advised Al-Monitor.

One of the heads he stated, belongs to King Amenhotep III, “as the ram head contains the horn, the eye and the hole in which the cobra is placed.” Amenhotep III’s crown had holes for the snake. 

“The ram heads are expected to be placed on the bodies of the statues along the road,” he noted. 

In a Facebook statement on Oct. 11, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced “the start of restoration work on the newly found stone ram heads on the Great Processional Way [another name for el-Kebash Road], as part of the archaeological excavations ongoing south of the Karnak temples at the gate of Ptolemy III Euergetes.”

The 3,000-year-old Great Processional Way (el-Kebash Road) connects the Luxor Temple with the Karnak Temple. The sandstone road is lined on both sides with statues in the form of a sphinx with the head of a ram.

“El-Kebash Road is an open museum that connects the Karnak and Luxor temples, stretching over 2.7 kilometers,” Waziri told Al-Monitor. “98% of the works are done” on restoring the road. “The cleaning and restoration of the temples on the site are currently being carried out. So far, the colors that were first used after the construction of the temples by ancient Egyptians have been restored.”

The opening ceremony, he said, will be “a historic occasion to spotlight the wonder, appeal, and historical past of Luxor, and its vacationer and archaeological potentials to the world, with the purpose of attracting vacationers from all around the world.”

On Oct. 8, the each day Egyptian information web site Youm7 revealed latest photographs of el-Kebash Road at nighttime, explaining that gentle tools has been put in on either side of the street. Meanwhile, movies of rehearsals for the opening ceremony made the rounds on social media. 

Mustafa al-Saghir, who’s overseeing el-Kebash Road challenge, praised the event tasks and concrete shift within the areas surrounding archaeological websites, which helps enhance the vacationer expertise. “The el-Kebash Road restoration project will contribute to reviving cultural and archaeological tourism in Luxor,” Saghir advised Al-Monitor.

The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has not but introduced a closing date for the opening of el-Kebash Road. But in response to native newspapers that quoted authorities sources, the opening ceremony will happen on Nov. four throughout a big pharaonic celebration within the presence of overseas ambassadors and Egyptian officers and can be broadcast dwell by native and worldwide media retailers.

On Sept. 29, Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled al-Anani met with the corporate answerable for the opening ceremony and with the archaeological committee answerable for the restoration challenge. During the assembly, he displayed a sequence of uncommon photographs from the 19th century displaying the historical past of the Karnak and Luxor temples, and the street connecting the 2. The photographs can be part of the exhibition in particular spots alongside the street.

Abdel Rahim Rihan, an Egyptian archaeologist, advised Al-Monitor, “The discovery of the new stone ram heads in the excavation area in Luxor is another advertisement for one of Egypt’s largest projects in Luxor.”

The ram was a logo of the god Amun Ra, Rihan stated, and “Some of the statues along the road show Amun Ra crouched on a high base, with the body of a lion and the head of a ram. The name of the king and his titles are engraved at the bottom of the statue [for protection].”

The opening ceremony, Rihan said, should be “a major unprecedented celebration along el-Kebash Road, as well as the Opet Festival, which was an ancient celebration that was held annually in the city of Thebes.”

Hussein Abdel Basir, an Egyptologist and director of the Museum of Antiquities of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, told Al-Monitor that the discovery of the new stone rams “adds more importance to el-Kebash Road’s opening ceremony” and can attract more tourists to Luxor. 

He expects “the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities to organize a huge event, similar to the procession of the royal mummies from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square to the National Museum of Civilization.” 

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