A crane lifts parts of a statue for restoration after it was unearthed, at al-Matareya area, Cairo, Egypt, 13 March 2017. German-Egyptian archaeological mission working at al-Matareya area on 13 March lifted more parts of a statue, which was initially pulled out of the ground on 09 March.

Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany witnessed on Thursday the lifting of two newly discovered 19th dynasty royal statues from a pit at the Souq Al-Khamis district in the Al-Matariya area of greater Cairo.

The statues were found in parts in the vicinity of the King Ramses II temple in the temple precinct of ancient Heliopolis, also known as “Oun,” by a German-Egyptian archaeological mission.

Mahmoud Afifi, Head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities at the Ministry said that what has been found of the first statue is an 80cm tall bust of King Seti II carved in limestone with fine facial features.

The second statue was found in large pieces. It appears to have been 8 metres long and carved in quartzite.

Head of the German mission Dietrich Raue said excavations would continue in search of other statues and artefacts that could reveal more of the ancient sun city’s secrets.

The statues were found in the vicinity of the temple of Ramses II in the temple precinct of ancient Heliopolis 
[Credit: Ministry of Antiquities]
It is thought that the newly discovered statue is that of King Ramses II 
[Credit: Ministry of Antiquities]

Head of the newly discovered statue of king Seti II 
[Credit: Magdi Abdel Sayed]
Ramses II, is a legendary figure from Egypt’s 19th dynasty who was referred to as the “Great Ancestor” by his descendants. He ruled for 66 years from 1279 to 1213 B.C., and through his successful military campaigns, he extended his kingdom from Nubia in modern-day Sudan to Syria.

Evidence suggests that the discovery of the statue near the ruins of a temple dedicated to Ramses II in the ancient city of Heliopolis in what is modern-day eastern Cairo makes him the most likely subject.

Authorities say when excavation is complete, the statue will be moved to the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza, which is due to open in 2018.