Egypt Unearths Roman-Era Statue Resembling the Sphinx

On Monday, archaeologists in southern Egypt unearthed a statue with a smile and the ruins of a shrine on the site of an old temple, according to official reports.

According to a statement from Egypt’s tourism and antiquities minister, the riches were discovered during an excavation trip in Qena, a province 450 kilometers south of Cairo. CNN reports that researchers believe the sphinx-like sculpture’s “royal facial characteristics” were fashioned to mimic those of the Roman emperor Claudius. The statue reportedly has a nemes, which is a striped headdress usually worn by Egypt’s pharaohs. However, additional research will be required to pinpoint its precise origin.

A Roman-era stela with hieroglyphic and demotic inscriptions was discovered beneath the sphinx. Similar to the temple in which it was discovered, the statue was sculpted from limestone. According to the ministry, the two-tiered shrine also contained a stairway and a mud-brick basin from the Byzantine period.