LUXOR, Egypt (Armenpress)—Two massive statues of Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep III that were toppled by an earthquake in the year 1,200 B.C., have been re-erected on their bases at the northern entrance to the ruler’s funerary temple on the west bank of the Nile River.
As Horizon weekly reports, an international team of archaeologists headed by German Armenian archeologist Hourig Sourouzian and Egypt’s Abdelkarim Karrar on Sunday unveiled the second of the two colossal restored statues.
The two statues, which had broken into some 200 chunks of stone and had remained submerged in the river had suffered the ravages of 3,200 years of humidity, erosion and vandalism.
The project to raise them, which was deemed an emergency by archaeological and cultural authorities, was undertaken in two stages within a single year, an unusual feat.
The first stage was completed between January and March 2014, when more than 200 fragments of the statues were removed from the water, transported 50 meters (yards) to dry land and reassembled into the first of the two colossi standing 12.35 meters (40.5 feet) high and showing the pharaoh striding forward.
In November, the second stage was carried out, in which the second statue — this one standing 12.93 meters (42.4 feet) high and weighing 110 tons — was raised and reassembled over the course of a month and 10 days.
“These are up to now the highest standing effigies of an Egyptian king in striding attitude,” Sourouzian told Agence France-Presse.
“It’s the best reconstruction of [a] colossal [statue] in the world,” the technical director of the operation, Spanish archaeologist and restoration expert Migual Angel Lopez, told journalists.
The project was made possible thanks to a system of compressed air cushions and pulleys capable of moving items weighing up to 70 tons.
The huge pieces of stone were glued together with various types of resins and reinforced with steel spikes.
Amenhotep III was the son of Pharoah Thutmose IV and belonged to the 18th Egyptian dynasty, which ruled Egypt from 1554-1304 B.C., during which time the empire’s capital was located at Thebes.
The pharaoh — who was the grandfather of Tutankhamen — died in about 1354 B.C. and experts say his reign marked Ancient Egyptian civilization’s political and cultural zenith