In what Egyptian officials are describing as “one of [the] most important archaeological discoveries,” a massive 3,000-year-old statue was found in a Cairo pit.

The statue, believed to stand a total of 30-feet tall, is being removed in large, separate, and shattered pieces in Matariya, greater Cairo:

Portion of the head of the statue.
Archaeologists are very certain that the statue depicts Pharoah Ramses II, also known as Ozymandias, though this has not yet been completely verified.

“It was in an area that was almost completely investigated,” said Dietrich Raue, head of the German team of archaeologists who have been excavating the area since 2012, “We thought [the pit] would be empty without any features… so that was a great surprise.”

The statue was discovered in a temple complex that is believed to have stood during the time of ancient Heliopolis. The region was destroyed during the Greco-Roman period and many of its antiquities were taken as treasure.

“Ramses II, a colossus known as the ‘Great Ancestor’ to his descendants,” reports CNN, “ruled for 66 years from 1279 to 1213 BC as part of Ancient Egypt’s 19th dynasty. He conquered swathes of Nubia in modern-day Sudan and Syria.”

The head and torso portions of the statue—each found in separate pieces—will be taken to the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza.

“I’m rather sure that [the hips and legs] will be there,” said Raue, “But the problem is we’re in the middle of the city, and the bottom part may be very close to the houses. It would be dangerous to excavate closer to the houses, so probably we will not get the bottom part.”

Sources: CNN | Via: David Wolfe

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