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Photos: Archaeologists discover massive statue in Cairo slum

Workers prepared to lift parts of the statue for restoration after it was unearthed at Souq al-Khamis district, at al-Matareya area, in Cairo, Egypt.
Khaled Elfiqi/European Pressphoto Agency
Workers prepared to lift parts of the statue for restoration after it was unearthed at Souq al-Khamis district, at al-Matareya area, in Cairo, Egypt.

CAIRO (AP) — Archaeologists in Egypt discovered a massive statue in a Cairo slum that may be of pharaoh Ramses II, one of the country’s most famous ancient rulers.

The colossus, whose head was pulled from mud and groundwater by a bulldozer and seen by The Associated Press on Friday, is around eight meters (yards) high and was discovered by a German-Egyptian team.

Egyptologist Khaled Nabil Osman said the statue was an ‘‘impressive find’’ and the area is likely full of other buried antiquities.

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‘‘It was the main cultural place of ancient Egypt, even the bible mentions it,’’ he said. ‘‘The sad news is that the whole area needs to be cleaned up, the sewers and market should be moved.’’

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Ramses II ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago and was a great builder whose effigy can be seen at a string of archaeological sites across the country.

Massive statues of the warrior-king can be seen in Luxor, and his most famous monument is found in Abu Simbel, near Sudan.

Osman said that the massive head removed from the ground was made in the style that Ramses was depicted, and was likely him. The site contained parts of both that statue and another.

Egypt is packed with ancient treasures, many of which still remain buried. The sites open to tourists are often empty of late as the country has suffered from political instability that has scared off foreigners since its Arab Spring uprising in 2011.

Heavy equipment was used to remove part of the statue from the ground.
Khaled Elfiqi/European Pressphoto Agency
Heavy equipment was used to remove part of the statue from the ground.
An excavator lifted part of the statue from the spot where it was unearthed.
Khaled Elfiqi/European Pressphoto Agency
An excavator lifted part of the statue from the spot where it was unearthed.
A boy rode his bicycle past part of the recently discovered statue.
Amr Nabil/Associated Press
A boy rode his bicycle past part of the recently discovered statue.

An Egyptian worker stood next to the statue’s head.
Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images
An Egyptian worker stood next to the statue’s head.

A child posed for a picture with the statue’s head.
Amr Nadil/Associated Press
A child posed for a picture with the statue’s head.

The site where the statue was discovered.
Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images
The site where the statue was discovered.