Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered a small statue of a sphinx at the Dendera Temple Complex that experts believe may represent the Roman Emperor Claudius, CNN reported Tuesday.
The discovery was made by a team from the Ain Shams University led by Dr. Mamdouh Al-Damati, former minister of archeology and a professor of archeology at the university.
The Sphinx, which was found along with a limestone shrine, dates back to the Roman era in the Qena Governorate of Egypt, according to a post by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
The shrine consists of a platform with two levels and features a basin for storing water made of red brick covered with slate. The mini-Sphinx was discovered while archaeologists were cleaning the basin according to the Ministry.
Al-Damati described the statue as “magnificent” with meticulously depicted “royal features,” including a light smile across the lips framed with two dimples. A slab of stone inscribed with hieroglyphics and demotic script was found below the statue.
The archaeological team began excavation work in mid-February, starting with a radar scanning of the ministerial halls at the Temple of Dendera in southern Egypt. They also performed a magnetic scan and radar scan of the area located east of the Sur surrounding the temple in front of the Isis Gate.
The team worked in collaboration with a team from the National Institute for Astronomical and Geophysical Research.
The mission will continue excavation work in the area of the Temple of Horus east of the Temple of Dendera and in front of the Isis Gate to reveal the road that connects them, the Ministry said.
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