A very unique royal bust of King Ramses II has been unearthed during an Egyptian archaeological mission from the Ministry of Antiquities. Archaeologists discovered the statue on private land in Mit Rahina, Egypt. The land owner had been arrested for performing illegal excavations on the land which is located near the Temple of Ptah – not far from the Pyramids of Giza.
Ramses II (also known as “Ozymandias” and “Ramesses the Great”) ruled Egypt from 1279 to 1213 B.C. He was the third pharaoh of Egypt’s 19th Dynasty. Ramses II was known for his impressive building programs with Abu Simbel being one of his greatest achievements. Abu Simbel consists of two temples with the smaller one being dedicated to his wife, Queen Nefertari.
The unique bust was made from red granite and showed the king wearing a wig and a crown with the symbol “Ka” which symbolizes power, life force, and spirit. On the back pillar, his name is engraved as “Nakht Mari Maat” which translates to “strong bull”. The statue is 105 cm tall (approximately three and a half feet) by 55 cm wide and 45 cm thick.
Mostafa Waziri, who is the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, stated that the statue is extremely rare because it’s the only ever “Ka” statue found that was made from granite. The only other one that was similar to it was made from wood and was owned by the 13th Dynasty King Hor Awibre – it is currently on display at the Egyptian Museum which is located in Cairo. Waziri explained that the statue was “intended to provide a resting place for the Ka (life-force or spirit) of the person after death."
In addition to the bust, several large blocks made from red granite and limestone were also found. The blocks were engraved with different scenes depicting Ramses II during the Heb-Seb religious ritual. This suggests that the blocks could possibly belong to the Temple of Ptah. It’s still unclear as to when the statue and the blocks were originally created. Pictures of the bust as well as one of the blocks can be seen here.
The bust and the blocks were brought to Mit Rahina open air museum where they will be restored. Excavations will continue at the site where they were unearthed.