Ancient Egypt rises from the sea in a massive show at Minneapolis Institute of Art

The lobby of the Minneapolis Institute of Art has two new greeters. They arrived here from Egypt, they’re 16 feet tall, made of red-speckled granite, weigh upward of 8,000 pounds and are at least 22 centuries old. They definitely won’t ask you to check your bag.

These towering statues of a pharaoh and his queen were discovered by underwater archaeologists buried in silt 30 feet deep. They sank into the salty Mediterranean Sea more than 1,200 years ago along with the cities of Thonis-­Heracleion, ancient Egypt’s largest port, and Canopus, where rituals honoring the god of death and the afterlife, Osiris, were carried out.

These and roughly 280 other objects excavated from the sea are now on display in a massive new exhibition, “Egypt’s Sunken Cities,” opening Sunday and running through April 14 at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.