A Cairo slum—probably not the first place you’d look to find ancient relics.
But on Thursday (March 9) this was the scene of one of Egypt’s most important archaeological discoveries.
Locals looked on as a forklift extracted this 8-meter (26-foot) statue submerged in groundwater.
If archaeologists are right, the separate pieces depict Ramses the Great, the most powerful and celebrated pharaoh of ancient Egypt, living and ruling 3,000 years ago and known by his successors as ‘the great ancestor.’
It is in this part of modern day Cairo that his temple stood—in the ancient city of Heliopolis.
Before restoration can begin, experts will have to dig up the remaining pieces.
If it is Ramses, the discovery could be a boost for Egypt’s ailing tourism industry, which has suffered repeated setbacks since the uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Many here hope a discovery like this could bring back travelers and their foreign currency.
Three millennia after he died, Ramses may still have things to do for his country.