Ancient Egypt still continues to fascinate many, giving us something to marvel at. A recent archaeological find was especially monumental, as it was a statue of a well-known pharaoh that's been sitting under the homes of modern Egyptians for over 3,000 years.
The massive statue was found amid the rising water, industrial waste, and rubble under a residential area in eastern Cairo. Believed to be a statue of the great Pharaoh Ramses II, the colossal statue is 26 feet tall, made of quartzite, and possibly about 3,000 years old.
Though the statue has been damaged and bears no insignia pointing to the identity of the pharaoh whose statue it was of, its close proximity to an ancient temple devoted to Ramses II points to the idea that the statue is of his likeness. What's more, the city where the statue was found was built above the ancient city of Heliopolis, a city devoted to the worship of ancient Egyptian sun god Re, of whom Ramses was a worshipper of.
Ramses II was one of ancient Egypt's longest ruling and most well-known kings. In his 60-year rule, his military campaigns and exploits helped expand Egypt's territory and advanced the growth and prosperity of what was already a powerful kingdom. His long and powerful ruling gave him the enduring title of "Ramses the Great." His reputation as a great king lasted beyond his lifetime so much so that nine more pharaohs took the name Ramses in his honor.
By the time of his death at the age of about 90 in 1213 BC, he had already given Egypt a larger amount of territory and riches and built a large number of statues and memorials all over Egypt. His preserved remains were found in a tomb in the Valley of the Kings but has since been moved to Cairo's Egyptian Museum, where it remains to this day.
Some believe that among the many Ramses pharaohs that ruled Egypt, Ramses II was the pharaoh from the Biblical book of Exodus with from whom Moses freed the Israelites.
The excavation project that led to the discovery of the massive statue is a continuous joint project between Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities and the University of Leipzig to salvage and preserve the archaeology in the ancient city of Heliopolis. Found in the same excavation site was the limestone statue of Ramses II's grandson Pharaoh Seti II, hence furthering the belief that the massive statue is of the great ruler.
Preservation projects are continuous in Egypt to both preserve and hopefully learn more about the great civilization, from the young pharaoh King Tut to lost civilizations and the great leader Ramses II.