Queen Tiye Statue Unearthed at Amenhotep III Temple

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March 26, 2017

Archaeologists have uncovered, quite by accident, an alabaster statue of Queen Tiye, one of ancient Egypt's most famous women.

Tiye was the wife of Amenhotep III, the mother of Akhenaten, and the grandmother of Tutankhamen, the famed "boy king" whose tomb was found filled with riches. Archaeologists have found statues of her before, but the recent find is the first to be made of alabaster. (Previous statues were made from the more pedestrian quartzite.)

Archaeologists found the statue of Queen Tiye while conducting excavations at the funerary temple of Amenhotep III at Kom Al-Hittan, on the west bank of what was then Thebes but is not Luxor. The statue, found beside the right leg of a colossus of Amenhotep III, depicts Queen Tiye in two positions, sitting and standing.

The discovery of the Queen Tiye statue was the second significant discovery at the excavation conducted by the German archaeological mission. Earlier this month, the excavation turned up 66 well preserved statues of Sekhmet, a lion-headed warrior goddess, at the temple. Amenhotep III directed that the statues be made at his temple to protect it from danger.

Although Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany would not say for sure that the statute did depict Queen Tiye, archaeologists presented compelling evidence that it was her; primary among that evidence was the location of the statue, near the right leg of a much larger statue of her husband. Queen Tiye is often depicted in statuary and tomb reliefs as being beside or directly behind Amenhotep III.

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