CAIRO, March 16, 2010 (AFP) - Egyptian archaeologists have discovered a colossal ancient statue of the pharaonic deity of wisdom, Thoth, in the shape of a baboon, the council of antiquities said in a statement on Tuesday.
The four-metre (13-foot) tall statue was discovered in four pieces along with two statues while workers were lowering ground waters beneath Luxor to help preserve the city's pharaonic temples, the statement said.
It dates back to the 18th Dynasty, which ruled Egypt until 1292 BC.
"It is the first time that a statue of Thoth, depicting him as a monkey, of this magnitude has been discovered," Mansur Boraik, head of pharaonic antiquities in Luxor, told AFP.
The statues were discovered near the temple of Amenhotep III, who ruled until 1372 BC.
Another statue, of which only the upper half was found, depicted the king and the sky god Horus, represented as a falcon, antiquities chief Zahi Hawass said in the statement.
"The team also discovered an alabaster statue base that is expected to have been the base of one of Amenhotep III's statues," he said.
A granite statue of the pharaoh Ramses III, who ruled about 3,000 years ago, was also found.