CAIRO - A team of Egyptian and German archeologists has unearthed six statues of the lion-headed war goddess Sekhmet during restoration work at an ancient temple in the southern city of Luxor, officials said Monday.
The team found the artifacts in the Kom Hitan area on the location of the 18th dynasty (1580-1314 BC) temple of pharaoh Amenhotep III on the west bank of the Nile, said Egyptian antiquities boss Zahi Hawas.
The black granite statues show Sekhmet sitting on a throne holding the "key of life" in her left hand. They were buried under the eastern wall of the temple's courtyard, Hawas said in a statement.
Three of the statues were recovered intact, said Horig Sourouzian, head of the joint team.
She added that the lower part of the third statue was still embedded in the ground and that the two others had their upper parts missing.
Hawas said the team had already discovered 30 statues of the goddess Sekhmet at seven different locations around the temple.
The goddess Sekhmet was associated with war and retribution and represented the destructive force of the sun. Part of her destructive side was disease and plague, but she could also cure ailments.
Pharaoh Amenhotep III collected many statues of Sekhmet as, according to some theories, he had dental and other health problems that he hoped the goddess would be able to cure.