A team of German archaeologists has unearthed 17 statues of the lion-headed goddess Sekhmet during restoration work at an ancient temple in the southern city of Luxor.
Faruq Hosni, the Culture Minister announced on Sunday that the team found the statues of the war goddess near the same site where six similar statues were unearthed last week, on the location of the 18th dynasty (1580-1314 BC) temple of pharaoh Amenhotep III on the west bank of the Nile.
Zahi Hawas, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said he black granite statues were life-tsize, measure between 1.7 metres and 1.8 metres and show Sekhmet sitting on a throne holding the Ankh, a hieroglyphic sign that represented life for the ancient Egyptians.
Hawas said there were inscriptions on either side of the seat indicating the various names of the pharaoh Amenhotep III.
The team, he explained, was currently in the process of raising the statues, which were found in three metre-deep holes and measuring eight metres in diametre, for restoration.
Last week, Egyptian and German archeologists found six statues for Sekhmet near the courtyard of the same 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.