King Of Bicycle Stands.



Adrian Lee

A priceless Egyptian statue discovered forgotten in a basement where it was used to prop up bicycles went on display in the British Museum yesterday after experts realised it's importance.

The 2,700 year old statue depicting King Taharqa, is believed to have been bequeathed to Southampton Archaeological Museum in 1912. But the true value of the polished stone figure was overlooked for almost 90 years.

The council's curator of archaeological collections, Karen Wardley, said yesterday: "Incredible as it sounds, it was being used by Museum attendants to lean their bicycle's against when they parked them in the basement. No one had a clue about it's value."

It was unearthed when two experts visited Southampton to help with an exhibition and were shown the 27" tall statue, which depicts the king as a God. They immediately contacted Vivian Davies, keeper of Egyptian antiquities at the British Museum, who confirmed the bearded figure dated from the seventh century BC.

Such is it's significance that it will tour Europe next year. British Museum curator Derek Welsby said: "This statue is priceless. It's a very fine piece and it's amazing the way it's been stored for all these years. Thankfully it seems to have suffered no damage from having bikes and the like leaning on it."

Adrian Lee

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