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The Egyptian Sphinx - Facts and information


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The Sphinx is a statue with the body of a lion and head of human. The great sphinx of Egypt was carved from a limestone on the Pyramids plateau in Giza. It was not carved in the usual sense of the word, rather giant blocks of soft limestone were quarried around the Great Sphinx to give its basic shape. It looms 241 feet long and 65 feet high.

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19th century photos of the sphinx


The traditional and majority view is that the Great Sphinx was built at the same time as the nearby Pyramid of Khafre (Chephren) in about 2540 B.C.E. The face of the Great Sphinx has been thought to be Khafre's, though recent evidence casts doubt on this notion. There has been lively debate in recent years arguing that it may be anywhere from two to four times that old.


Weathering patterns on the Sphinx that were consistent with water erosion rather than erosion produced by wind and sand. These patterns were not found on other structures on the plateau. Egypt is arid today, but about 10,000 years ago the land was wet and rainy. West and Schock conclude the Sphinx must be on the order of 7,000 to 10,000 years old in order to have the marks of water erosion they found.


A theory was developed that the Sphinx, when considered with the neighboring pyramids and ancient writings, is part of, and possibly the first element of, a kind of astronomical map related to the constellation Orion. They have concluded that the "best fit" for this map is found for the position of the stars as they were in 10,500 B.C.E.


Finally, there are no inscriptions or writings that directly indicate the builder or date of construction for the Sphinx. There are, in fact, some minor references that the Sphinx existed prior to the pyramids.


The Sphinx has suffered the ravages of time, man and modern pollution. The rearing cobra headpiece (uraeus) that sat on the king's forehead is lost, the nose is damaged, and the beard now consists of only museum fragments. The Great Sphinx has fallen to disrepair and been mostly covered by sand many times. A massive and expensive restoration and preservation project has been underway from 1950 to the present.

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I have read that the Sphinx may predate Egyptian civilization, that is, be much older than the 1st dynasty. Some experts believe that while the head may have been redesigned during the early years of Egyptian civilization that the basic body and a larger, different and perhaps cruder head, was carved many years before the earliest pyramids were constructed.

What have you heard from Egyptian sources on that theory?

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There are several very interesting discussions of the topic on line. Some archeologists believe that there is evidence that supports Khufu building the Sphinx, others indicate that if Khufu had a dream in which the Sphinx spoke to him, that it must pre-exist his reign.

Geologists have several opinions, some indicating that the erosion patterns on the base of the monument must have been caused by flowing water (flooding from 10,000 years ago or 7 to 5000 years ago (prior to dynastic Egyptian civilization) and supporting that with some evidence that the head was added at a later date, complete with a nose that was supported by metal rods and a beard that later fell off without damaging the underneath facial structure.

There seems to be a lot of controversy with the mainstream Egyptologists considering those who don't support the 5th dynasty origins of the Sphinx as "revisionists"


"When Pharoah Thutmosis IV fell asleep before the head of the Great Sphinx at Giza, he recorded that the statue had spoken to him in a dream. He said the Sphinx had told him to clear away the centuries of sand that choked its body and hid all but its head from view. The Sphinx then promised the young Thutmosis (also spelled Tutmosis) the throne of Egypt for doing this work. And so he cleared the Sphinx of its sand and set up between the massive lion's paws a stela on which he recorded his dream and promised to restore the statue of the Pharoah Khafre. Or did he? " http://jcolavito.tripod.com/lostcivilizations/id17.html


At any rate, it appears that the greater part of the Sphinx's body is a natural rock formation, with some masonry work added later.


It seems that there are several very good theories and that no one has yet solved the mystery of the Sphinx.

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