New Kingdom workshop uncovered in Gebel el-Silsila

The Swedish-Egyptian mission led by Dr. Maria Nilsson and John Ward from Lund University, has discovered a New Kingdom sandstone workshop and several sculptures during excavations carried out at Gebel el-Silsila archaeological site in Aswan.

Dr. Mostafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Councul of Antiquities pointed out that the mission has found inside the workshop within the debris, a large criosphinx which is a ram-headed sphinx measuring approximately 5 m long, 3.5 m high, and 1.5 m wide, and was carved in a style comparable with the criosphinxes to the south of Khonsu Temple at Karnak. Archaeological context suggests a date from Amenhotep III of the 18th Dynasty. 

Abdel Moneim Saeed, Director General of Aswan and Nubia Antiquities said that hundreds of hieroglyphic fragments that belong to a destroyed Naos of Amenhotep III (Naos E), together with new sculpture fragments of the associated falcon were unearthed. In addition, parts of an obelisk, including its pyramidion, were retrieved.


Nilsson said that during excavations, the team discovered a smaller practice piece of another ram-headed sphinx, perhaps carved by an apprentice. Both sculptures are preserved in a rough-cut and prepared for transportation, but were likely abandoned at Gebel el-Silsila as the larger sculpture fractured. Since then, later Roman quarry activity buried the sphinxes in spoil. 

Nearby the practice piece, she continued, embedded in the walls of a contemporary workshop, was also uncovered a rough-cut uraeus (coiled cobra), made to crown the head of the larger ram-headed sphinx, and a blank round-top stela.


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