3,400-year-old Egyptian statue is found

January 25, 2006

Johns Hopkins archaeologists in Egypt have unearthed a life-sized, 3,400-year-old statue of one of the queens of the powerful king Amenhotep III.

The statue was uncovered earlier this month in Luxor by the expedition's director, Betsy Bryan, Johns Hopkins professor of Egyptian art and archaeology. Bryan and graduate student Fatma Talaat Ismail were clearing the platform of the temple of the goddess Mut when they found the statue.

Bryan theorizes the statue is of the great Queen Tiy, wife of Amenhotep III and mother of the so-called heretic king Akhenaten, who came to the throne as Amenhotep IV, but later changed his name because of his rejection of the god Amen in favor of the sun disk Aten.

"Tiy was so powerful that, as a widow, she was the recipient of foreign diplomatic letters sent to her from the king of Babylonia in hopes she would intercede with her son on behalf of the foreign interests," Bryan said. "Some indications, such as her own portraits in art, suggest that Tiy may have ruled briefly after her husband's death, but this is uncertain."

The discovery came during Bryan's 11th annual Egyptian expedition.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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