Wednesday, February 3, 2010

More Regarding the Avenue of Sphinxes in Luxor

Originally published February 3, 2010 | Zahi Hawass' Blog | by Zahi Hawass | More details about the excavations at Luxor on the Sphinx Alley including the latest developments, the long history of contributors to the Alley and its surroundings, and more. Here's an excerpt:

Hosni said that the Avenue of Sphinxes, built by the 30th Dynasty king Nectanebo I (380-362 BC), is 2,700 meters long and 76 meters wide, and lined with a number of statues in the shape of sphinxes. Hosni added that the avenue is one of the most important archaeological and religious paths in Luxor, as it was the location of important religious ceremonies in ancient times, most notably the Opet festival. Queen Hatshepsut (1502-1482 BC) recorded on her red chapel in Karnak temple that she built six chapels dedicated to the god Amun-Re on the route of this avenue during her reign, emphasizing that it was long a place of religious significance.


Dr. Hawass explained that the work was carried out in three phases; the first was to build a low wall alongside the avenue in order to preserve it from any further encroachment, the second phase is the excavation and the third is restoration of the area.

Excavators unearthed a collection of Roman buildings and workshops of clay pots and statues as well as several reliefs. One of the reliefs bears the cartouche of Queen Cleopatra VII (51-30 BC). Dr. Hawass believes that this queen likely visited this avenue during her Nile trip with Mark Anthony and implemented restoration work that was marked with her cartouche.

Two articles by Ann Wuyts written for the Independent report on the same story: Excavation and Restoration on the Avenue of Sphinxes and Temple Fragment Return to Egypt and Its Place

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