On 22 January, 1989, while working on routine maintenance on the western side of Amenhotep III’s colonnaded solar court in Luxor temple, archaeologists and workers of the Egyptian Antiquities Organisation under the authority of Dr. Mohammed Al-Saghir discovered a deep pit containing a remarkable hoard of statuary now known as the “Luxor Temple Cachette”.
The deposit seems to have been made in the early 4th century AD to hold unwanted statuary during the installation of the cult of the defied Roman emperor which was established on Luxor temple at that time.
Once opened, the pit was found to contain a wide range of statues ranging in date from the mid-18th dynasty to the Ptolemaic Period.
About half of the objects proved to be well preserved; now cleaned and repaired where necessary, many are regarded as among the fines artefacts to have been found in Egypt.
Some of the statues are of individual figures representing gods, goddesses, queens and kings, and kings as gods, while others are group statues – dyads and triads of divine and royal groups.
Perhaps the most amazing single statue is the larger than life-size, almost perfectly preserved “statue of a statue” of Amenhotep III which depicts a sledge-borne image of the king carved from a striking purple-re-gold quartzite.
This and several others of the finest sculptures from the hoard are now on display in the Luxor Museum.
Dr. Mostafa Al-Saghir, Director General of Karnak Antiquities and Supervisor of sphinx avenue, said that the celebration at the Luxor temple where the cache was discovered. The celebration includes organizing an exhibition of photographs showing the discovery of the cache, dealing with the statues and restoration works and the museum’s display for it. And will organize an exhibition of similar photographic images within the Luxor Museum as a place to display the hidden objects.
Dr. Al-Saghir explained that the cache of the Luxor temple was accidentally discovered on the morning of January 22, 1989, during the cleaning and settlement of the temple floor at the time. Dr. Mohammed Al-Saghir, Director General of Upper Egypt Antiquities, the discoverer of the cache, announced that the statues that were found are one of the most beautiful and wonderful works produced by the ancient Egyptian artist. They are characterized by statues in their very good condition, the factors of time did not affect them and they retained their distinctive brilliance.