Sunken relief is a technique of relief sculpture in which figures or images are carved in low relief, but set within a sunken area, so that the relief never rises beyond the original flat surface. This technique is largely restricted to ancient Egypt, where it became common in the Amarna period and later.
Sunken relief representing the god Thoth. Granite. Luxor, Egypt. Ca. 1400 BCE. Photo: John Bodsworth.