Tuesday, November 16, 2010 | By: Khush Singh-Celebrity & Indian Bridal Makeup Artist

Sphinx-Lined Road Found in Egypt


Egyptian archaeologists have unearthed an ancient sphinx-lined road in the last section of the "Avenue of Sphinxes," a 2.7-km (1.7-mile) alley that connects the grand temples of Luxor and Karnak from north to south on the east bank of the Nile River.

Zahi Hawass, chief of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, said today that the discovery occurred during excavation work aimed at restoring the avenue, which was built by the 30th Dynasty King Nectanebo I (380-362 B.C.) on an older path dating from the 18th Dynasty.

Nectanebo I lined the avenue, which was used for religious ceremonies and processions, with 1350 sphinxes, all inscribed with his name.

Mentioned in several ancient texts, the newly discovered sandstone road runs east to west adjoining the Avenue of the Sphinxes and was also lined with a number of statues in the shape of the mythical beast with the head of a man and the body of a lion.

Indeed, archaeologists have unearthed twelve sphinxes so far. Inscribed with the name of Nectanebo I, many of the statues were missing their heads.

The Egyptan team has excavated 20 meters (65 feet) of the road. Built from sandstone coming from the quarries at Gebel Silsila, north of Aswan, the pathway is estimated to run for 600 meters (1,968 feet) to the Nile.

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According to Mansour Boraik, Supervisor of Luxor Antiquities, this is the first time a new road that runs from east to west, toward the Nile, has been found.

The pathway was the location of important ceremonies.

“The King used this road for religious processions. Along this way the sacred boat of Amun, king of the gods, traveled on the god’s annual trip to visit his wife, Mut, at Luxor temple," Hawass said in a statement.

The entire Avenue of Sphinxes is expected to be restored by March 2011. At that time, some fragmented sphinxes, now under restoration, will be placed on display along the road.

Avenue of sphinxes

Photos: One of the 12 sphinxes and the newly discovered road. Courtesy of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.


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