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Rare Wooden Statue of Pharaoh Found
Posted In: Other Exciting News  3/31/12
By: Yona Williams

Last summer, a rare wooden statue of a pharaoh was uncovered in Abydos. It is believed to represent Hatshepsut, a female pharaoh that did not leave behind many depictions. Her successor destroyed or defaced a great deal of representations of the ruler. In this article, you will learn more about this discovery and what it means to the archeologists who found it.

A team of Canadian archeologists happened upon a rare wooden statue of a pharaoh at a dig site located in southern Egypt. By looking at the clues, archeologists believe it is a representation of Hatshepsut – a respected female king that successfully ruled around 3,500 years ago in Egypt. In an attempt to make sure he stayed powerful, her male successor (her stepson and next in line to rule, Tuthmosis III) attempted to erase the existence of her long reign.

During their research and excavation last summer that took place close to the ancient city of Abydos, the researchers (led by University of Toronto archeologist Mary-Ann Pouls Wegner) were able to bring two previously unknown religious buildings to light. There were also dozens of animal mummies on the site, which included cats, sheep and dogs.

The climate of the country itself posed issues for the researchers. Egypt is undergoing a political revolution that threatened the protection of artifacts as finds were unearthed. Canadian researchers, Egyptian antiquity experts and security officials met with one another to create the best approach to digging up the statue and making sure that it receives the best preservation.

The statue was found near a well-known temple dedicated to Osiris, who was the god of the afterlife. The artifact was found lying face down. The archeologists were highly excited with the discovery. The statue is believed to have been used as a lighter alternative to stone – coming in handy during ritual processions. The other artifacts found at Abydos were placed under guard and eventually became a priority for conservation experts.

The figure depicted a pharaoh with a smaller waist and a gentler nature used to form the chin. These characteristics are usually reserve for female figures in Egyptian art. It is these kinds of clues that alert experts to the identity of the female pharaoh. Many experts believe that Thuthmosis destroyed the memory of Hatshepsut so that he could make sure no one challenged his rule or questioned his legitimacy to rule Egypt.

When Hatshepsut first assumed power during ancient Egypt times, it followed the death of her husband, Tuthmosis II. She ruled before Tuthmosis III because he was not old enough to perform the duties expected of a king.

The announcement of the discovery was made at a meeting of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities, and will appear in more detail in a publication to follow.  


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