Sphinx statue uncovered in Egypt

Limestone sphinx head is 35cm tall and 55cm wide

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Archaeologists in Egypt’s central Minya governorate have uncovered a small statue of a royal sphinx.

The Egyptian Archaeological Mission, led by Sayed Abdel Malek, found the statue in the Tuna El Jebel archaeological area, where two cemeteries holding 40 mummies were uncovered early last year.

Gamal Al Samastawy, director general of the antiquities for middle Egypt, said the limestone sphinx head is 35cm tall and 55cm wide.

It is not the only find from the third mission to excavate the Tuna El Jebel area, 270km south of Cairo.

Archaeologists found ancient amulets and pottery, clay pots of various shapes and sizes, and an alabaster bottle.

Those working on the site said a survey and archaeological excavations would continue to find out why the statue was found there.

The site has been the subject of excavations and discoveries for more than 100 years.

The first mission, led by the Institut Francais d'Archeologie Orientale, took place in 1902.

The discovery comes as preparations for the opening of Egypt’s newest historical project are coming to a close.

The Grand Egyptian Museum, a vast building overlooking the Giza Pyramids, is due to open next year, five years later than originally planned.

The museum will bring together Tutankhamun’s entire collection of items for the first time since the tomb was discovered in 1922, including textiles, jewellery and shoes, as well as other items from Egypt's rich ancient history.

Egypt’s archaeological wonders continue to fuel the country’s tourism industry. More than 11 million tourists visited Egypt in 2018.