Team Finds 17 Statues of Egyptian Goddess

An Egyptian-German archaeological team has discovered 17 statues of Sekhmet, an ancient Egyptian goddess with the head of a lioness and the body of a woman.

The statues, estimated to be about 3,000 years old, were found during restoration work on the temple of Amenhotep III, in the southern city of Luxor, Culture Minister Farouk Hosni said in a statement Sunday.

Last week, the team discovered six similar black granite statues depicting Sekhmet seated on a throne and holding the "key of life" in her left hand.

Two of those statues were broken, with only the lower parts found.

The condition of the 17 statues was not revealed, though the council's chief, Zahi Hawass, said in the statement that each figure will be removed from the site for maintenance. Hosni did not say when the figures were found.

Hawass said Amenhotep III's different names and titles were delicately engraved on both sides of the statues' thrones, reflecting the advanced stage of arts during the 18th Dynasty.

Sekhmet was considered the goddess of war and recovery, which could explain why so many similar statues were found on the same site, according to Mansour Breik, the official supervising the Luxor antiquities.