Archaeologists have unearthed the remains of a sphinx-like statue and a temple at an ancient temple in southern Egypt, antiquities officials said on Monday.
The antiquities ministry said in a statement the artifacts were found at the temple of Dendera in Qena province, 280 miles south of the capital Cairo.
The ministry said archaeologists believe the statue’s smiling features may belong to the Roman emperor Claudius, who extended Rome’s rule into North Africa between AD 41 and 54.
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It said archaeologists will conduct further studies on the markings on the stone slab, which may reveal more information about the identity and region of the statue. The statue is much smaller than the famous Sphinx in the Pyramids of Giza complex, which stands 66 feet tall.
The archaeologists also found a Roman-era stone slab with demotic and hieroglyphic inscriptions.
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The limestone temple comprises a two-layered platform and mud-brick basin from the Byzantine era, the ministry said.
Such discoveries are usually touted by Egypt’s government in hopes of attracting more tourists, an important source of foreign exchange for the cash-strapped North African country.
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