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Is this the statue of the Pharaoh of the Exodus found toppled in a muddy pit under an Egyptian slum?
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Archaeologists in Cairo have recovered the top half of an ancient colossus, likely built for Pharaoh Ramses II.
The statue of Ramses II will be repaired and put on display.
LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - A three-story tall colossus belonging to Ramses II has been found at the ancient site of Heliopolis in Cairo, Egypt. Heliopolis was a temple where the sun god was said to live. The Colossus is in pieces and was found at the bottom of a muddy pit which is now being excavated by German and Egyptian archaeologists.
Archaeologists have used heavy machinery, such as a forklift and a backhoe to remove the pieces of the statue which are made of solid stone and weight several tons apiece.
The Colossus is a remarkable find and is still in excellent condition despite the fact it is broken into pieces. There are plans to restore the stature and to put the head and torso on display.
Hundreds of residents and public officials were present around the unassuming site which is presently surrounded by a poor district in Cairo.
Ramses II, or Ramses the Great, lived around 1,200 B.C., and he is known for his construction projects which included the building of a new Capitol city for the Egyptian empire. He also had several statues of himself built and erected across his lands to demonstrate his wealth and power.
The massive statue is 26 feet tall, or nearly three stories in height.
Ramses was also the longest reigning pharaoh of Egypt, becoming pharaoh as a teenager and ruling until he died at the old age of 90 or 91. His wife was the famous queen Nefertari, and he had over 100 concubines and 100 children.
He has been mentioned as the Pharaoh of the Exodus, although this is more a product of modern culture than historical fact. The Bible does not mention which pharaoh reigned during the time of Moses, and it is likely the Exodus occurred before the time of Ramses II. Still, it does lie within the realm of possibility, and it makes scholars wonder why his statue was toppled and broken in a muddy pit. Could it be his followers became angry after he freed the Israelites from captivity?
The crown rested in a public space until it could be safely moved away, giving locals an opportunity to have their picture taken next to an artifact from antiquity.
Such a scenario is fanciful speculation, and experts believe the statue probably fell naturally as the temple at Heliopolis fell into disuse and ruin.
Egypt was later conquered by Alexander the Great and was ruled by the Greeks and Romans. Christianity flourished in the region during the late Roman empire. Islam came to Egypt in the seventh century AD and remains the dominant religion today.
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