Archaeologists find 4,000-year-old wooden statue head in Egypt

Published: Oct. 18, 2017 at 1:29 PM

Brooks Hays

Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Archaeologists in Egypt have recovered the head of a wooden statue dating to the sixth dynasty of Ancient Egypt.

The 4,000-year-old statue was excavated from Saqqara, an ancient burial ground that served as the primary necropolis for Memphis, the capital of Ancient Egypt.

Archaeologists believe the statue may have belonged to Ankhesenpepi II, a queen consort during Egypt's sixth dynasty. The head features realistic proportions, as well as long, slender neck and ears decorated by jewelry. The statue measures nearly a foot in length.

"The head was found in a disturbed layer to the east of the queen's pyramid near the area where the pyramidion was uncovered early this week," Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities wrote on Facebook, quoting Philip Collombert, who is heading the French-Swiss excavation mission.

Ankhesenpepi II was the wife of King Pepi I and the mother of Pepi II. After the death of King Pepi I, Queen Ankhesenpepi briefly ruled Egypt until her son was old enough to assume the throne.

Last week, archaeologists recovered the top of a stone obelisk, which they believe also belonged to Ankhesenpepi II -- described by the ministry as "one of the most important queens of the 6th dynasty."

The obelisk fragment, measuring more than 8 feet in height, is the largest such artifact recovered from Old Kingdom burials.

Researchers believe a satellite pyramid, built in the queen's honor, is hiding somewhere nearby. Collombert and his colleagues hope their ongoing excavation efforts will reveal the mini pyramid and more.

"It is a promising area that could reveal more of its secrets soon," said Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

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