A massive statue unearthed this week in a Cairo district depicts Rameses II, one of ancient Egypt's most powerful pharaohs, well-known archaeologist Zahi Hawass said on Friday.

An Egyptian-German team on Thursday announced discovering the 8-metre-long colossus submerged in ground water in the working-class neighbourhood of al-Matariya in eastern Cairo.

"In view of the hugeness of the statue, I confirm it belongs to King Rameses and not to any other [ancient] king," Hawass, Egypt's ex-antiquities minister, said in an Arabic statement.

The structure was unearthed in the ancient Heliopolis city where ruins of a Rameses II temple had been previously found.  

A forklift was used on Thursday to lift a separate huge head of the statue from the pit.

The rest of the colossus, weighing 7 tons, will be pulled out on Monday, Hawass said.

Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Enany said the statue appeared to be associated with Rameses II.

Parts of the structure will be transported to a grand museum on the outskirts of Cairo for restoration, el-Enany said, according to state-run al-Ahram Online.

Rameses II, the third pharaoh of the 19 Dynasty, ruled ancient Egypt for 66 years starting from 1279 BC.

He was known for his military expeditions and monuments.

He has a famed temple in Abu Simbel in southern Egypt.

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