A Colossal Ramses II Statue Pieces Uncovered

A Colossal Ramses II Statue Missing Pieces Have Been Uncovered In the Same Area Where Archaeologists Located the First Half.

Mar 11, 2024By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
A Colossal Ramses II
Ramesseum, the memorial temple, located in the Theban Necropolis in Upper Egypt. Photo: Art Images via Getty Images.


A Colossal Ramses II statue missing pieces have been uncovered. Overall, a dual Egyptian-American archaeology team located the defunct top part of a statue of King Ramses II, in the south of Egypt. At more than 12 feet tall, the uncovered portion shows the ancient Pharaoh‘s head, shoulders, and upper body. The discovery happened thanks to the collaboration between the local Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, and the University of Colorado.


A Colossal Ramses II Statue’s First Pieces Discovered in 1930

kadesh treaty replica, A Colossal Ramses II
Replica of the Kadesh Peace Treaty between Hattusilis and Ramses II, via United Nations


Ramses II appears to wear the pschent, and a double crown that represents his dominance over all Egyptian territory. This crown often adorned the heads of ancient Egyptian monarchs. He also wears a cobra headpiece, known as a uraeus. The uraeus represents a revered sign of royalty and tremendous power linked to the ancient goddess Wadjet. German archaeologists uncovered the lower half of the statue in the same location.


They made the discovery in the southern city of Minya, almost a century ago in 1930. Attempts are underway to clean and reconstruct the whole limestone figure. This should lead to a massive 23-foot tall structure upon completion. Several places in Egypt have statues of Ramses II, ancient Egypt’s longest-reigning pharaoh. At the twin temples of Abu Simbel in Egypt’s southernmost district of Aswan, four massive 65-foot-tall sculptures of the king flank the massive entryway to the Greater Temple.


A Colossal Ramses II
The recently discovered upper-half of a huge statue of the pharaoh. Photo : Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.


The monuments attracted international notice in the 1960s. At that time, an operation took place to relocate the whole temple structure to higher terrain. Lake Naseer threatened to flood the region. This lake is a then-new reservoir lake of the High Aswan Dam on the Nile River.

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Who Was the Great Pharaoh?

seth and horus relief
Seth and Horus Crown Ramses II at Abu Simbel, via Wikimedia Commons.


Ramses II, often known as Ramses the Great, reigned Egypt from 1298 to 1235 BCE. He is regarded as the most influential and revered pharaoh of the New Kingdom, which was ancient Egypt’s golden age. During his reign, he carried out a comprehensive construction programme, creating settlements and monuments across his realms. This also included Egypt and Nubia.


The latter was a major supplier of raw resources, including gold and other trade products. His colossal temples, built 1,500 years after the pyramids, served as a symbol of his dominance while also Egyptianizing the Nubians. There are at least 350 monuments commemorating the legendary Pharaoh.


Luxor temple colossal statues and obelisk
Luxor temple, colossi and obelisk of Ramses II.


Some were created in the same way that impatient kings before him had: by taking a chisel to a pre-existing monument and changing a former pharaoh’s name with his own, or by similarly modifying the countenance of a statue to seem like him. His sarcophagus is recognised as one of the most impressive royal coffins of his day. Ramses’ mummy is on display at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Cairo.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.