Cairo, Egyptian archaeologists have discovered the statue of a sphinx while draining water from the pharaonic Temple of Kom Ombo in the southern city of Aswan.

The antiquities ministry said the statue of the mythical beast with the head of a human and the body of a lion was made of sandstone.

It probably dates back to the Ptolemaic dynasty, which ruled Egypt from 305BC until the Roman conquest in 30BC.

Two sandstone reliefs of King Ptolemy V were also recently found at the temple.

The statue measures about 28cm (11 inches) wide and 38cm tall.

The director general of Aswan’s antiquities department, Abdul Moneim Saeed, said it would carry out further studies of the sphinx to find out more about its purpose.

The sphinx represented royal power in pharaonic Egypt, combining the physical strength of a lion with the worldly might of a king.

The Great Sphinx by the pyramids of Giza is the most famous, the BBC reported.

Source: Oman News Agency