Archaeologists excavating the temple area in Luxor, Egypt, discovered a statue of king Amenhotep III of the 18th Dynasty, and parts of 66 statues of the goddess Sekhmet.
The discoveries were made during a restoration project for the Colossi of Memnon, two massive stone statues of King Amenhotep III and his temple. The find was made during excavations by the German mission in the area between the courtyard and the hall of columns in the temple. The excavation was originally made to search for the remains of the wall separating the two sites. Some of the discovered statues represent goddess Sekhmet in a seated position, others depict her while standing and holding in her hand the symbol of life and a sceptre of the papyrus flower.
According to the experts all of the found statues are made of diorite rock. The statues are in good condition and well-preserved. They have an important archaeological value as they should provide a full image of the temple, especially after its collapse in a devastating earthquake in the pharaonic era.
Sekhmet was a lion-headed goddess who protects the sun god against his enemies. King Amenhotep III commissioned hundreds of statues of the goddess for the temples he constructed in Thebes. In his funerary temple particularly, which was called the “temple for millions of years,” the great number of these statues was intended to protect the ruler from evil and repel or cure diseases.
(after The Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project, Ahram Online & Egypt Independent)