Egyptian officials have announced the discovery of a mini sphinx-like statue near an ancient temple in southern Egypt.
The limestone statue was unearthed at the temple of Dendera in Qena during an archaeological mission performed by the Ain Shams University, according to the Egyptian antiquities ministry.
The statue has a “soft smile”, two dimples and “royal facial features”. It is wearing a nemes, a striped headdress worn by ancient Egyptian pharaohs, according to CNN.
Archaeologists believe it dates back to the Byzantine era and represents the Roman emperor Claudius, the fourth Roman emperor who ruled from the 41 to 54 AD and grew the Roman Empire’s rule in North Africa.
The remains of a shrine and a stone slab with both Demotic and hieroglyphic markings were also discovered.
Further studies will be done on the stone slab, which could help to reveal the statue’s identity, Egyptian officials said.
The new discoveries are expected to shed light on Egyptian civilization during the Roman era.
The announcement comes just days after scientists revealed that they had discovered a hidden corridor inside the Great Pyramid of Giza.