ARCHAEOLOGISTS in Egypt have discovered a massive statue in a Cairo slum which is thought to be of Pharaoh Ramses II, one of the country's most famous ancient rulers.

The colossus, whose head was pulled from mud and groundwater by a bulldozer on Thursday, is around 26ft high and was discovered by a German-Egyptian team.

Ramses II ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago and was a great builder whose effigy can be seen at a string of archaeological sites across the country.

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Massive statues of the warrior-king can be seen in Luxor, while his most famous monument is found in Abu Simbel, near Sudan.

Egyptologist Khaled Nabil Osman said the statue was an "impressive find" and the area is likely to be full of other buried artefacts.

"It was the main cultural place of ancient Egypt – even the bible mentions it," he said.

"The sad news is that the whole area needs to be cleaned up – the sewers and market should be moved."

Osman added that the massive head removed from the ground was made in the style in which Ramses was typically depicted. The site contained parts of both that statue and another.

Egypt is packed with ancient treasures, many of which still remain buried. Sites open to tourists are often empty of late as the country has suffered from political instability which has scared off visitors since the Arab Spring uprising in 2011.