A 'smiling' sphinx discovered in Egypt

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A sphinx « smiling&nbsp ;» discovered in Éegypt

The new statue is much smaller than the Sphinx, which is 20 meters tall and sits near the Giza pyramids.

A “smiling two-dimpled” sphinx depicting a Roman emperor has been unearthed near the Temple of Hathor from which the famous Dendera Zodiac originated, 500 km south of Cairo, the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities announced via press release.

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A Roman engraved in demotic and hieroglyphics

Archaeologists believe the statue's smiling face is possibly that of the Roman Emperor Claudius, who extended Roman rule to North Africa between AD 41 and AD 54.


The limestone sphinx was discovered in a Byzantine basin inside a two-tiered tomb alongside a Roman stele engraved in demotic and hieroglyphs , specifies the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in a press release. It will be examined further, as it may contain details about the identity of the statue and the era.

The new statue is much smaller than the Sphinx, which is 20 meters tall and sits near the Giza pyramids.

The Dendera Zodiac reached Paris when, in 1820, the French prefect Sébastien Louis Saulnier sent a team to unseal this bas-relief with explosives. This representation of the celestial vault of more than 2.5 meters in width and height has hung on a ceiling of the Louvre since 1922, while a plaster copy replaces it in Dendera.

The statue was unearthed near the temple of Hathor located 500 km south of Cairo.

Egypt has revealed several major discoveries in recent months, mainly in the necropolis of Saqqara, near Cairo, known for the step pyramid of the pharaoh Djoser, but also on the famous plateau of Giza where stands the last of the seven wonders of the ancient world still standing.

On Thursday, Cairo announced the discovery of a nine-meter hidden corridor inside the Great Pyramid of ;Egypt, that of Cheops, which could possibly lead to the real burial chamber of King Cheops supposed to contain the pharaoh's treasure.

Further south, in Luxor, the Thebes of the pharaohs, remains of an entire Roman city dating back to the first centuries AD have recently been unearthed.

For some experts, these announcements have more political and economic significance than scientific since the country of nearly 105 million inhabitants is going through a serious economic crisis. Egypt is relying on tourism to straighten out its finances so the government is aiming for 30 million tourists a year by 2028, up from 13 million before COVID-19.

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