Rare Roman discovery thrills experts: Emperor's marble head found at Egyptian temple site

Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered an extremely rare marble head depicting the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

The head, which shows the emperor with wavy hair and a beard, was discovered in the city of Aswan in southern Egypt, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities. In a Facebook post, Dr. Ayman Ashmawy, head of the Ministry’s Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector, described the find as unique, noting that it is rare to find statues of the Roman emperor in Egypt.

Egypt Independent reports that the statue’s head was found when experts were reducing the level of groundwater at the Kom Ombo temple in Aswan. The head was discovered in a well next to the temple, according to LiveScience.

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Marcus Aurelius, who lived in the 2nd century A.D., is also famous for his involvement in philosophy. A famed practitioner of stoic philosophy, the emperor’s writings are collected in the work “Meditations.”

The extremely rare marble head of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities)

The extremely rare marble head of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities)

Another team of archaeologists recently discovered a shrine to the god Osiris-Ptah-Neb at the Karnak Temple in Luxor. Pottery and part of a sitting statue were also uncovered at the site, as well as a section of stone panel depicting a ram and a goose on an offering table. The animals are symbols of the god Amun, the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities said, in its Facebook post. A winged sun-disk is also shown on the panel. Associated with divinity, royalty and power, the winged sun-disk is a common symbol of the pharaonic era.

Ancient Egypt continues to reveal its secrets. Experts in Australia, for example, recently found the tattered remains of an ancient priestess in a 2,500-year-old Egyptian coffin that was long thought to be empty.

On the other side of the world, a rare ancient artifact depicting the famous female pharaoh Hatshepsut surfaced in the U.K. Stunning new research also claims that King Tutankhamun may have been a boy soldier, challenging the theory he was a weak and sickly youth before his mysterious death at around 18 years of age.

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Experts in the U.K. also found the world’s oldest figurative tattoos on two ancient Egyptian mummies recently, one of which is the oldest tattooed female ever discovered.

The stone panel discovered in Luxor (Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities)

The stone panel discovered in Luxor (Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities)

Other recent finds include an ancient cemetery in Egypt with more than 40 mummies and a necklace containing a “message from the afterlife.” An ancient statue of a Nubian king with an inscription written in Egyptian hieroglyphics was also found at a Nile River temple in Sudan.

Scientists also believe that they may have found the secret of the Great Pyramid’s near-perfect alignment. Experts are also confident that they have solved the long-standing mystery of the “screaming mummy.”

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In February, archaeologists announced the discovery of a 4,400-year-old tomb near the pyramids. Late last year, archaeologists also revealed that they had uncovered the graves of four children at an ancient site in Egypt.

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