September 24, 2008 / 2:46 PM / 11 years ago

Egypt finds granite statue, likely of Ramses II

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian archaeologists have discovered a granite statue probably depicting the head of Ramses II, one of ancient Egypt’s most powerful pharaohs, the country’s culture ministry said on Wednesday.

Researchers discovered the statue 150 cm (five feet) under ground in the eastern Nile Delta town of Tell Basta, which was later the capital of ancient Egypt, the culture ministry said.

The pink granite statue had a broken nose and a missing beard, Zahi Hawass, the head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, said in a statement.

Archaeologists are continuing to dig around the site in hopes of finding the rest of the statue and possible remains of a temple built by Ramses, he said.

Ramses, one of Egypt’s longest-serving pharaohs, is believed to have ruled between 1279 BC and 1213 BC. He built palaces and temples throughout Egypt, including the famous Abu Simbel temple in the far south.

Writing by Will Rasmussen; Editing by Mariam Karouny

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