A piece of stone used by staff at a museum as a bicycle rest is being hailed as an incredibly exciting¹ archaeological find, it was reported in The Times¹ today.
Experts say the 27-inch black stone, which has lain almost unnoticed in a cellar at a council museum in Southampton, Hants, is a 2,700-year-old statue of an ancient Egyptian king.
Its true significance was discovered by Hilary Wilson and Peter Funnell, two Egyptologists working on an exhibition at the museum.
They contacted the British Museum which concluded it was a Kushite sculpture of King Taharqa who reigned about 3,000 years ago.
Karen Wardley, curator of archaeological collections for Southampton City Council, said the stone may have been held by the museum since 1912.
"It was being used by museum attendants to lean their bicycles against."