Archaeologists used to treasures from far-away temples are
hailing one unearthed rather closer to home - behind the staff
bicycles in a Hampshire cellar.
A 2,700-year-old statue of the Egyptian king Taharqa has
reportedly been found in the basement of the God's House Tower
archaeological museum in Southampton, after being ignored for a
Staff used it to lean their bicycles against - but no-one
realised the 27-inch statue's importance until two Egyptologists
came to visit the museum.
They contacted Vivian Davies, keeper of Egyptian antiquities at
the British Museum, who travelled from London to see the statue and
pronounced it an "incredibly exciting" find.
Mr Davies said the piece was an important piece of Kushite art
dating back to the seventh century BC.
The Kushites were from Nubia - what is now Sudan. Taharqa
reigned between 690-664 BC and is thought to have been a keen
builder of temples.
The king is shown as a god marching forward although the feet,
lower left leg, much of the left arm and parts of the head-dress are
It is still a mystery how such an old and rare artefact came to
Karen Wardley, curator of archaeological collections for the
city council, said: "No one had a real clue about its value. We are
"It was being used by museum attendants to lean their bicycles
The statue is now being stored in Southampton's Civic Centre art
gallery, where it will go on display once appropriate security has