At the necropolis site of Mont’e Prama in Sardinia, archaeologists have uncovered two large but fragmentary torsos from statues of boxers armed with shields, similar to two finds made very close by at the site in 2014.
They are thought to have been created by the Nuragic culture (known for their megalithic nuraghi, or tower structures) that emerged on the island in the Bronze Age and endured until the Roman period.
Excavations also revealed a road with tombs from 950-730 BC.
More than 30 statues like these new finds are known since their first excavation in 1974, and they have been dubbed the ‘Giants of Mont’e Prama’.
As well as boxers and wrestlers, they depict archers and warriors up to 2.5m in height, and often with pronounced, disc-like eyes.
They are thought to represent mythical figures that protect tombs.
Some are on display in museums in Cagliari and Cabras (both in Sardinia); and one will feature in an upcoming exhibition at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples (Sardinia: megalithic island; 30 June to 11 September 2022).
A sizeable find in terms of numbers comes from the Egyptian site of Saqqara, where the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has announced the discovery of 150 bronze statues and 250 wooden coffins, from around 500 BC, at the Bubasteion necropolis.
An earlier burial from the New Kingdom, around 1500 BC, was also unearthed.
The bronze statues come in various sizes and depict different gods, including Anubis, Osiris, Isis, Bastet, and Hathor. Another, headless statue represents the chancellor Imhotep.
Further finds by the Egyptian team include two painted wooden statues with gilded faces, portraying Isis and Nephthys.
Fieldwork at Saqqara in recent years has seen numerous coffins and figurines revealed.