CAIRO: Tourism and Antiquities police have seized a 3,500 year-old royal statue at a local’s houses in Edfu, north of Upper Egypt’s Aswan governorate, according to an Antiquities Ministry statement Thursday.
“The statue is made of black granite and represents the 18th Dynasty Pharaoh Amenhotep III standing in a military position and wearing the royal headdress, the ceremonial beard and the royal skirt,” Director of Aswan Antiquities Department Nasr Salama stated.
After issuing the arrest warrant, the tourism and antiquities policemen raided the house of the local who said he obtained it through illicit digging activities near the temple of God Horus at Edfu.
The authenticity of the statue was confirmed by a committee of specialists. The 150-centimeter (60 inches) high statue is in a “very good” state of preservation with names and royal title of the Pharaoh carved at the base, said Salama.
The masterpiece was transported to the antiquities ministry’s storeroom at Edfu for renovation.
Amenhotep III, the ninth pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty, ruled Egypt from 1386 B.C. to 1349 B.C. and his reign is believed to have marked the political and cultural zenith of ancient Egyptian civilization, archaeologist Sherif el-Sabban previously told The Cairo Post.
He was succeeded by his son Amenhotep IV, better known as Akhenaten, according to el-Sabban.
Illegal archaeological digging and trade in Egyptian antiquities, particularly in locations such as Luxor, Aswan and Cairo, have flourished due to the security lapse that followed the January 25 Revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Former Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim stated in August that since the outbreak of the 2011 revolution, over 2,000 artifacts were stolen from several museums and archaeological sites across the country.