November 30, 2011 - Statue of Ramses II Discovered

– 1991

Some construction workers dug down into the earth in Akhmim, in Egypt, in order to prepare a foundation for a new post office. And...they uncovered an ancient statue of an ancient pharaoh, Ramses II.

That's how things go in Egypt!

I have read that, in Akhmim, some people go into their own courtyards and begin to dig, and a few of them have discovered major archeological finds! Apparently the temple once built in that area was huge—Arabic visitors from the ninth century said it took from sunrise to sunset to view the temple! However, most of the temple and the rest of the ancient city were torn down during the middle ages, and the materials were reused to create other buildings.
Check out some of the ancient statues in Akhmim here and here.

What's in a name?

I am not that surprised when I see that the Italian name for Rome is “Roma,” or the Spanish name for Mexico City is “la Ciudad de Mexico” (since ciudad means city). However, I am surprised when one place has very different names. This is the case with Akhmim. Apparently the ancient town was called Ipu, then Khent-Min, then Khemis by ancient Egyptians; Panapolis by ancient Greeks; and Chmin by Coptic Christians.

A famous pharaoh

Some of the statues discovered in Akhmim depict pharaoh Ramses II and his daughters and wives. Ramses II lived more than three thousand years ago. And...speaking of varied names, his name is sometimes spelled Ramesses, and he sometimes is sometimes called Ramses (or Ramesses) the Great. Don't be confused: these are all names for the same guy.

What made him so great? Well, for one thing, Ramses II lived a really looong time, even for modern times. He was around 90 years old when he died—and back then, most Egyptians who made it past babyhood only lived to be 30 or 40 years old.

This statue of Ramses was not found in Akhmim.
As a matter of fact, it is not in Egypt--it is
in Tennessee, in the United States!
Also, Ramses II is considered one of the most powerful pharaohs of the Egyptian Empire, as he led successful military expeditions into Canaan, Libya and Nubia and defeated sea pirates who had been attacking Egyptian trading vessels on the Mediterranean Sea. 

Ramses II made sure he was remembered; he ordered a lot of colossal (huge) statues carved of himself, and had temples and other monuments erected in his honor all over Egypt. Check out these photos of just a few...and then these.

Explore some more

BBC offers “Mummy Maker” and “Pyramid Builder,” and Mr. Donn presents a colossal amount of ancient Egyptian stuff! 

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