Ancient statue found buried at Egypt Giza pyramids

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Maintenance workers at Egypt’s Giza Pyramids have found an ancient quartzite statue of a seated man buried close to the surface of the desert, the culture ministry said on Tuesday.

The statue, about life-size at 149 cm (five feet) tall, was found north of the smallest of Giza’s three main pyramids, the tomb of the fourth dynasty Pharaoh Mycerinus, who ruled in the 26th century BC, the ministry said in a statement.

The man was wearing a shoulder-length wig and was seated in a simple chair, his right hand clenched on his knee and holding an object. His left hand was resting on his thigh.

The culture ministry said the statue had a number of cracks in a shoulder, its chest and base, and some facial features had been worn away. The head of the statue was only about 40 cm (16 inches) below ground level.

The statue bore no inscriptions, making it hard to identify, though the style suggested it might date to the early years of the Old Kingdom of ancient Egypt, close to Mycerinus’s time.

The Giza complex, containing the pyramids and the Sphinx, on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital, is one of the country’s most popular tourist sites, attracting millions of visitors every year.

Writing by Cynthia Johnston, editing by Tim Pearce