It has been more than 2,600 years since he ruled Egypt. But a king named Psamtik I (SAM-tihk) recently made news. In March, archaeologists discovered parts of a huge statue that they believe depicts (shows in a form of art) the ancient pharaoh.
A BIG FIND
The massive statue was found buried in a neighborhood in Cairo, Egypt’s capital. The neighborhood was built on the ruins of Heliopolis, which was a major city in ancient Egypt. Since 2005, archaeologists have searched the area where Heliopolis once stood, hoping to find ancient artifacts.
While digging at the site in March, researchers from Egypt and Germany unearthed two pieces of a giant stone statue. With the help of Egyptian authorities, they used a crane and other machinery to raise the statue’s broken torso (part of the body between the neck and waist) and head from a muddy pit. Though they have not yet found the entire statue, archaeologists estimate that it stood 26 feet tall.
IDENTIFYING A KING
At first, experts thought it depicted Ramses II, one of Egypt’s most famous rulers. The statue was found in the ruins of one of his temples. But days later, the researchers noticed an engraving (text or design carved into a hard surface) on the torso that revealed new details. It spelled out a name commonly used to refer to Psamtik I. He ruled from 664 to 610 B.C., more than 500 years after Ramses II.
Though archaeologists believe the statue shows Psamtik I, they can’t confirm the identity until they find and study more pieces. Officials plan to restore the statue and display it at the Grand Egyptian Museum, which is set to open near the Great Pyramid of Giza next year.