By Elton Gomes
Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered a sphinx with a lion’s body and a human head in the southern city of Aswan. Egypt’s Antiquities Ministry on Sunday said the sphinx was made of sandstone and it was found in the Temple of Kom Ombo while work was being done to protect the site from groundwater.
The Antiquities Ministry further said the sphinx could be from the Ptolemaic dynasty, which ruled Egypt from 305 BC until the Roman conquest in 30 BC. The statue is about 28 cm wide and 38 cm tall.
Abdul Moneim Saeed, director general of Aswan’s antiquities department, said the department will conduct further assessments of the sphinx to find out more about its purpose, BBC reported.
Other discoveries made near Egypt
In August 2018, a sphinx was found during the development of the Al-Kabbash Road project, declared general director of Luxor Antiquities Mohamed Abdel Aziz said.
Abdel Aziz said that Khaled al-Anani, minister of antiquities, has urged tourists to visit the Al-Kabbash road to see the statue. A researcher in Egyptology – Bassam al-Shamma – said that such a discovery was expected since several sphinx statues were found across Luxor, namely sphinx statues for King Aymanhotb III and Thutmose IV.
In December 2017, Egyptian authorities revealed artefacts and a linen-wrapped mummified body were discovered in Luxor. The Antiquities Ministry said the tombs, located in the Draa Abul Naga necropolis on Luxor’s west bank, had been identified by German archaeologist Frederica Kampp in 1990s and that the tombs were either unexcavated or had never been entered.
Later, in February 2018, Egyptian archaeologists discovered a 4,400-year-old tomb near Cairo. The tomb reportedly contained rare wall paintings and was believed to belong to a high-ranking Egyptian priestess, government officials said.
Egyptian authorities have been hoping that a rise in the number of discoveries will attract more tourists to the country.
Egypt hopes to boost tourism with new discoveries
Several major discoveries were made in the year 2017, and Egypt’s tourism minister hopes that this will catch the eye of foreign tourists. Egypt’s tourism industry continues to be an important source of income, but it was largely affected due to the political turmoil that erupted in 2011. Tourism in Egypt was further affected due to a surge in Islamist violence.
However, Tourism Minister Yehia Rashed seems optimistic about Egypt’s tourism scene. “It has improved [our] image, improved the curiosity, you know the culture business is helping out the overview of Egypt,” Rashed said in an interview with news agency Reuters.
To further boost tourism, the Egyptian government plans to build the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), estimated to be worth $1 billion. The GEM will be in proximity to the Great Pyramids of Giza, and will house 100,000 artefacts – from Egypt’s prehistoric times to its Greek and Roman eras. The GEM will reportedly be the largest museum in the world dedicated to the heritage of a single civilization.
Almost 6,000 workers are involved in the GEM’s construction in order to meet the deadline of a soft opening in early 2019. The GEM will be part of a larger complex that will reportedly include an exhibition space; a movie theatre; and other educational, cultural, and entertaining facilities set to appease tourists of all ages.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
Stay updated with all the insights.
Navigate news, 1 email day.
Subscribe to Qrius