Egyptian antiquities workers have completed a year-long restoration project on the statue of Thutmose II, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said on Monday.
The 10.5-metre structure, the largest of the three statues of the pharaoh in Egypt, is one of the highlights of Luxor’s famed Karnak Temple, the country's second most visited archaeological site after the Giza pyramids.
The statue’s restoration began in August of last year and was set to be completed in January, but it was delayed.
Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, expressed his pride on Monday over the project’s completion because it was completed by an all-Egyptian team.
The statue, made entirely of quartzite rock, had been so severely damaged over the years that the pharaoh’s torso had completely come off the main structure, so visitors to the temple would merely see a pair of giant stone legs sitting on a throne.
Abdel Hakim Al Badry, director of restoration at Karnak, said that the Thutmose II project began with a “mechanical cleaning” of the statue to remove dirt and traces of mud from various parts, some of which had fallen out of place.
Furthermore, disassembled parts of the statue were reconnected and secured, while cracks in the structure were injected with various kinds of adhesive paste, Dr Al Badry explained.
A chemical cleaning was also required to remove traces of bird droppings from the statue.
The ministry said that it had followed internationally approved restoration protocols throughout the project.