Rare Pink Statue of Ancient Egypt's King Ramses II With 'Ka' Symbol Unearthed Near Giza

A rare statue of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II has been discovered near Giza. The pink granite statue, which is almost 3.5 feet tall, was found to have the symbol 'Ka'—thought to be an aspect of the soul or spirit by the civilization.

The discovery was announced by Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities. The statue was found on the land of a man who had been arrested earlier in the month for carrying out illegal excavations. The land was located near the Temple of Ptah, which is about 15 miles from Giza.

In a statement, Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the rare statue was "intended to provide a resting place for the Ka (life-force or spirit) of the person after death." Previously, only a wooden statue of Ramses II with the Ka symbol had been discovered.

"This discovery is considered one of the rarest archaeological discoveries. It is the first ever Ka statue made of granite to be discovered. The only Ka statue that was previously found is made of wood and it belongs to one of the kings of the thirteenth dynasty of ancient Egypt," he told China's Xinhua news agency.

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Ramses II ruled during Egypt's 19th dynasty, between 1279 and 1213 B.C. According to National Geographic, he had more children and built more monuments than any other pharoah. He was also involved in several successful military campaigns into the Levant. Because of his long, successful reign, he is often called Ramses the Great. He is thought to have died at the age of 90 and was buried in the Valley of the Kings.

The statue of Ramses II depicts him in the form of "Elka." This is a "symbol of strength, vitality and spirit," the Ministry said. On the back pillar, the name Ramses is engraved as Nakht Mari Maat, which means "strong bull," the statement notes. The statue is 1.8 feet wide and 1.4 feet thick. Ramses II is depicted wearing a wig and a crown, with the Ka sign.

The statue and the blocks that were discovered alongside have been taken to a museum so they can be restored and preserved. Archaeologists working at the site also found pink granite and limestone inscriptions depicting the god Ptah—the god of craftsmen and architects who was married to Sekhmet, the warrior goddess. According to the Ministry, artefacts relating to Ramses may have been part of the Temple of Ptah.