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National Geographic Treasures of Egypt
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An Egyptian Face Lift

An Egyptian Face Lift

To help control the Nile’s life-giving waters, Egypt decided to flood its upper reaches by constructing the Aswan High Dam. Left alone, the 67-foot- (21-meter-) tall statues and the temple they guarded would have taken a deep bath in the new Lake Nasser. But with UNESCO’s help, Egypt launched an immense salvage project in 1959, which employed thousands of laborers and heavy-machine operators to transport pieces like this face to higher ground. Four years and 40 million dollars later, the statues sat securely on their thrones again.

Photograph by Georg Gerster
NGM May 1966
From Treasures of Egypt, 2003

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