Friday, May 11, 2012

Installation of Ancient Royal Statues Foretell Cleopatra's Arrival in Los Angeles

California Science Center President Jeffrey Rudolph
Los Angeles, CA (May 9, 2012) /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The installation of two colossal statues from the 4th – 3rd centuries B.C., weighing a combined total of nearly 10 tons, took place today at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. The 16 ft. tall Ptolemaic King and Queen, are signature pieces in a collection of more than 150 Egyptian artifacts that will be featured in the west coast premiere of "Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt" opening at the Science Center on May 23, 2012. Visitors to this exhibition, about one of the most provocative and powerful women in history, will also view jewelry, coins and items from Cleopatra's sunken palace in Alexandria and other ancient sites that were significant during her life as queen.

Distinguished as the largest collection of its kind ever assembled in the U.S., the exhibition creates the experience of the present-day search for Cleopatra, which extends from the sands of Egypt to the depths of the Bay of Aboukir near Alexandria. It was organized by National Geographic and Arts and Exhibitions International, with cooperation from the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities and the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology (IEASM).

"Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt" will provide an inside look at two ongoing expeditions on land and sea led by modern explorers Dr. Zahi Hawass, Egypt's pre-eminent archaeologist, and Franck Goddio, French underwater archaeologist and director of IEASM. As a highlight, the exhibition will showcase artifacts from Goddio's continuing underwater search off the Mediterranean coast of Egypt, begun in 1992 and sponsored by the Hilti Foundation.

The statues that inaugurated the exhibition's installation today comprise the two largest artifacts in the collection. Carved from red granite, the Colossal King and Queen statues represent rulers from the Ptolemaic era, the dynasty that included Cleopatra VII. The king weighs 5.5 tons and may have originally stood in a temple area. His double crown, uraeus cobra and kilt indicate his royal status. The king and companion Colossal Queen statue, weighing in at 4 tons and standing about 16 feet tall, were pulled out of the Mediterranean Sea from the sunken ancient Egyptian city of Heracleion near Alexandria by Goddio's team in 2000.

About the California Science Center 
The California Science Center is a dynamic destination where families, adults and children can explore the wonders of science through interactive exhibits, live demonstrations, innovative programs and awe-inspiring films. Its mission is as follows: "We aspire to stimulate curiosity and inspire science learning in everyone by creating fun, memorable experiences, because we value science as an indispensable tool for understanding our world, accessibility and inclusiveness, and enriching people's lives."

The California Science Center and IMAX Theater are located in historic Exposition Park just west of the Harbor (110) Freeway at 700 Exposition Park Drive.  www.californiasciencecenter.org