The Icon: Egypt’s Great Sphinx
In Arabic, it’s called “the father of terror.” To us, it’s a riddle.
Who built the Great Sphinx of Giza? No one can say for sure (though several of the more crazy theories point fingers at space aliens). The huge limestone statue, as tall as the White House in Washington, D.C., with paws bigger than city buses, was erected in the time of the Old Kingdom, probably during the reign of the Pharaoh Khafre, between the years 2558 and 2532 B.C.
The crouching lion with a man’s head was ancient when Cleopatra gazed upon it in 47 B.C. It retains its allure to the powerful, as world leaders from Napoleon to Barack Obama have trekked to Giza to contemplate the same view that captivated the queen of the Nile.
Name game: The Sphinx is an alias, created by the ancient Greeks when the statue was already centuries old. The early name was Hor-em-akhet, meaning “Horus in the horizon.” Horus is the Egyptian god of the sky.
Test of time: Out of the seven wonders of the ancient world, only the Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx are still standing.
Color me mysterious: The Sphinx was originally painted in garish comic-book colors like red. Traces of the pigment can be seen by its ear.
Copycat: In Las Vegas, the Egyptian-themed Luxor Hotel‘s foam and plaster version is 35 feet taller than the original Sphinx, which rises 66 feet.
Close shave: The Sphinx originally sported a beard, which eventually crumbled. A piece of its “stubble” is displayed in the British Museum in London.
Secrets and lies: Legend says the library of the sunken island of Atlantis is stowed beneath the Sphinx, with an entrance near its right paw. Nothing has been found, according to bemused archaeologists.
The Sphinx Riddle in Oedipus
The Greek myth of Oedipus is perhaps the most famous story in which the sphinx appears. In this legend, the sphinx has the head of a woman, the body of a lioness, and the wings of an eagle. The creature resides just outside the city of Thebes, in Boeotia, and would ask each passing traveler a riddle. If the riddle was not answered correctly, the sphinx would devour its victim. The riddle of the sphinx , which is one of the most famous in history, goes roughly as follows: “What has four legs in the morning, two in the afternoon, and three in the evening”. The answer, which was correctly given by Oedipus, was ‘man’, as he crawls on all fours as a baby, walks on two feet as a grown-up, and relies on a walking stick in his old age. Upon hearing the correct answer, the sphinx killed itself thus bringing its reign of terror to an end.
The Missing Nose of the Sphinx
There are several stories explaining the Sphinx's famous missing nose one is that it fell off when Napoleon's archaeologists were investigating the statue another is that the Mameluke army used the Sphinx for target practice, and a lucky artillery shot blew it off. Neither of these tales are true.
The nose was probably removed in the 8th century AD by a Sufi who considered the Sphinx a blasphemous idol, but all that can be said for certain, based on the tool marks that remain, is that it was deliberately pried off with chisels. The Sphinx's face, which in ancient times was painted dark red, was also decorated with a stone beard and displayed a sculpted cobra on its forehead, both of which have also fallen off. This may explain why for much of the Sphinx's later history, its face was interpreted as a woman's.
Even without its nose the Sphinx's battered visage, jutting out of the shifting sands and weathered rock, beckons to us with its enigmatic smile and watchful eyes. Over the last five millennia the Sphinx has gazed out upon the builders of the pyramids and the armies of Ramesses II, Greek soldiers under Alexander, and Romans under Caesar. It has watched Napoleon and his men as they passed by on their ill-fated expedition in the land of the Pharaohs, and seen British armies marching off to fight Rommel in World War II. Visitors from Herodotus to Mark Twain have gazed upon its face in the setting sun, pondering the glimmering light of history that, slowly receding into the distance, fades into the unknowable past.
Text taken from Amazeing Art: Wonders of the Ancient World — HarperCollins Publishers — Serialized in Games magazine — Recommended by the Archaeological Institute of America — A BookSense "What's in Store" Main Selection — Maze puzzle art reproduced by the British Museum
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20 Facts About The Great Sphinx Of Egypt
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It is the largest and most famous Sphinx, situated at the Giza Plateau adjacent to the Great Pyramids of Giza on the west bank of the Nile River, it has puzzled Egyptologists and researchers for centuries. Here we bring you some facts about this mysterious construction in Egypt:
- The Sphinx was carved from the bedrock of the Giza plateau, a single ridge of limestone that is 73 meters long and 20 meters high.
- The Sphinx is considered to be one of the largest single-stone statues in the world.
- Researchers believe that blocks of stone weighing approximately 200 tons were quarried in the construction phase to build the adjoining Sphinx Temple.
- It was only in 1905 when the sand was cleared away to expose the full body of the Sphinx, before that, the Sphinx was covered in sand.
- It is believed that the Sphinx was constructed in the 4th Dynasty by Pharaoh Khafre, but archaeological and geological research suggests that the Sphinx is far older than the 4th Dynasty.
- It is one of the few constructions of ancient Egypt that have no inscriptions on its surface, until today not a single symbol has been found on the Sphinx.
- The Great Sphinx has become an emblem of Egypt, frequently appearing on its stamps, coins, and official documents.
- In Greek mythology, a Sphinx is represented as a monster with a head of a woman, the body of a lioness, the wings of an eagle, and a serpent-headed tail.
- The Sphinx became a symbol of kingship in the New Kingdom, and several pharaohs of built temples in the area surrounding the Sphinx. Pharaoh Amenhotep II built a mud-brick temple to the north-east of the Sphinx while Rameses II who is considered one of the ancient kingdom’s most prolific builders, constructed an altar of granite between its paws.
- The missing nose It was first believe that the Sphinx lost its nose to Napoleons men, but 18th century drawings reveal that the nose of the Sphinx was missing before Napoleon’s arrival, it is believed that the nose of the Sphinx was shot off by the Turks.
- Geologists and scholars agree that in the distant past Egypt was subjected to severe flooding, thus water erosion is present on the construction of the Sphinx. Wind erosion cannot take place when the body of the Sphinx is covered by sand.
- No texts, writings, inscriptions or symbols of any kind have been discovered indicating as to who built the Great Sphinx of Egypt. Several archaeologists and Egyptologists theorize about its construction but no evidence has been brought forward so true origin and purpose of the Sphinx remains a mystery.
- The Sphinx is oriented due east facing the rising sun near the 30th parallel.
- The Sphinx has a tail which wraps around the right hind paw.
- The Great Sphinx originally had a beard, several pieces of the beard of the Sphinx are located in the British Museum in London and the Cairo Museum.
- There are three passages into or under the Sphinx, the “Tomb of Osiris” is one of the most incredible discoveries linked to the Sphinx, located 95 feet below the surface behind the back of the Sphinx. It is believed to be the resting place of Egyptian God Osiris.
- It is considered an astronomical monument, geological findings indicate that the Sphinx may have been sculpted sometime before 10,000 BC, a period that coincides with the Age of Leo, or the Lion, which lasted from 10,970 to 8810 BC.
- According to Graham Hancock, computer simulations show that in 10,500 BC the constellation of Leo housed the sun on the spring equinox – i.e. an hour before dawn in that epoch Leo would have reclined due east along the horizon in the place where the sun would soon rise. This means that the lion-bodied Sphinx, with its due-east orientation, would have gazed directly on that morning at the one constellation in the sky that might reasonably be regarded as its own celestial counterpart.
- According to some texts, ancient Egyptians referred to the Sphinx as balhib and bilhaw.
- Circa1500 B.C.E. it was referred to as Hor-em-akht – Horus in the Horizon, Bw-How Place of Horus and also as Ra-horakhty Ra of Two Horizons.
Editors note: We strive for accuracy and fairness, if you would like to add something to this article please contact us.
Before Atlantis: 20 Million Years of Human and Pre-Human Cultures by Frank Joseph
The Great Sphinx of Giza Through the Years
The monumental statue known to the world as the Great Sphinx of Giza is believed to have been built more than 4,500 years ago. While photography has only been around for about 200 years, photographers have flocked to the Giza pyramid complex to capture images of the enigmatic creature in the Egyptian desert. Gathered below are varied photographs of the Sphinx throughout the past 170 years, from Maxime du Camp’s image of a still-mostly-buried Sphinx, in 1849, to 21st century light shows, and much more.
The Great Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza, Egypt, photographed by Maxime du Camp in 1849, and published in a book of travel photos in 1852. The chest area of the Sphinx had only recently been uncovered𠅏or years the statue was covered with sand up to its shoulders. #
The Great Sphinx with the Kafra Pyramid behind, circa 1860 #
Further excavation has revealed more of the statue, photographed circa 1860. #
Excavation under way circa 1880. One paw has been uncovered, along with the Dream Stele, a monument placed between the Sphinx's paws in 1401 B.C. by the Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose IV, during a previous excavation. #
"Our party, December 1892, February 1893." From "Lower Egypt. Pyramids," part of the Tupper Scrapbook Collection. #
Original caption from March 1920: "Infantymen pose for a photograph on the Great Sphinx, built around 2,500 B.C., at Giza, in Egypt." #
A view seen during a more extensive excavation on December 4, 1925. #
An aerial view of Giza with the Sphinx at lower center, circa 1929. #
In 1942, sandbags were placed to protect the Sphinx against enemy bombs during World War II. #
American jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong plays the trumpet while his wife sits listening, with the Sphinx and one of the pyramids behind her, during a visit in 1961. #
The Great Sphinx, surrounded by scaffolding, during restoration work in 1990 #
Fashion designer Pierre Cardin presents his new perfume "Enigme," in Giza, in May of 1992. #
A closer view of the head and face of the Sphinx #
U.S. President Barack Obama poses for a photo in front of the Sphinx during a tour of the Great Pyramids of Giza on June 4, 2009. #
A freestyle biker jumps in front of the Sphinx and the Giza pyramids during the second stage of the freestyle motocross Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour on May 14, 2010. #
A view of the Great Sphinx of Giza #
A tourist poses for a picture with the Sphinx in Cairo on October 19, 2011. #
An image is projected on the face of the Sphinx during a sound and light show on November 8, 2012. #
U.S. first lady Melania Trump visits the Giza pyramids and Sphinx on October 6, 2018, during the final stop of her week-long trip through four countries in Africa. #
The Great Sphinx is photographed amid tourists visiting the Giza complex, with the Pyramid of Khafre in the background. #
A view of the back side of the Great Sphinx, showing its tail, which wraps around to its right rear paw #
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The Sphinx - Some History
The 'Stella' (that dark rectangular monument) between the paws and in front of the chest was erected during the brief reign of Thothmoses IV (1420-1411 BC). When first excavated, it had a partially eroded hieroglyphic phrase near the bottom which included a syllable in the name Khafre. It was translated as "praise to Un-nefer. Khafre. the statue made for Atum-Harmakhis". Many Egyptologists accept this as evidence that Khafre built the Sphinx. Others disagree. Some time after it was excavated, the particular inscription in question flaked off and we now have only drawings.
The age of the Sphinx is still being hotly debated and as yet there appears to be no evidence conclusive enough to settle the question.
- Pharaoh Amenhotep II (1448-1420 B.C.) mentioned the Sphinx as being older than the Pyramids.
Modern Egyptology text books link the construction of the Sphinx to the 4th dynasty Pharaoh Khafre. Alternate theories continue to be put forth, mostly from outside academic Egyptology or Archaeology.
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sphinx, mythological creature with a lion’s body and a human head, an important image in Egyptian and Greek art and legend. The word sphinx was derived by Greek grammarians from the verb sphingein (“to bind” or “to squeeze”), but the etymology is not related to the legend and is dubious. Hesiod, the earliest Greek author to mention the creature, called it Phix.
The winged sphinx of Boeotian Thebes, the most famous in legend, was said to have terrorized the people by demanding the answer to a riddle taught her by the Muses—What is it that has one voice and yet becomes four-footed and two-footed and three-footed?—and devouring a man each time the riddle was answered incorrectly. Eventually Oedipus gave the proper answer: man, who crawls on all fours in infancy, walks on two feet when grown, and leans on a staff in old age. The sphinx thereupon killed herself. From this tale apparently grew the legend that the sphinx was omniscient, and even today the wisdom of the sphinx is proverbial.
The earliest and most famous example in art is the colossal recumbent Great Sphinx at Giza, Egypt, dating from the reign of King Khafre (4th king of 4th dynasty, c. 2575–c. 2465 bce ). This is known to be a portrait statue of the king, and the sphinx continued as a royal portrait type through most of Egyptian history. Arabs, however, know the Great Sphinx of Giza by the name of Abū al-Hawl, or “Father of Terror.”
Through Egyptian influence the sphinx became known in Asia, but its meaning there is uncertain. The sphinx did not occur in Mesopotamia until about 1500 bce , when it was clearly imported from the Levant. In appearance the Asian sphinx differed from its Egyptian model most noticeably in the addition of wings to the leonine body, a feature that continued through its subsequent history in Asia and the Greek world. Another innovation was the female sphinx, which first began to appear in the 15th century bce . On seals, ivories, and metalwork the sphinx was portrayed sitting on its haunches, often with one paw raised, and was frequently paired with a lion, a griffin (part eagle and part lion), or another sphinx.
About 1600 bce the sphinx first appeared in the Greek world. Objects from Crete at the end of the middle Minoan period and from the shaft graves at Mycenae throughout the late Helladic age showed the sphinx characteristically winged. Although derived from the Asian sphinx, the Greek examples were not identical in appearance they customarily wore a flat cap with a flamelike projection on top. Nothing in their context connected them with later legend, and their meaning remains unknown.
After 1200 bce the depiction of sphinxes disappeared from Greek art for about 400 years, though they continued in Asia in forms and poses similar to those of the Bronze Age. By the end of the 8th century, the sphinx reappeared in Greek art and was common down to the end of the 6th century. Often associated with Oriental motifs, it was clearly derived from an Eastern source, and from its appearance it could not have been a direct descendant of the Bronze Age Greek sphinx. The later Greek sphinx was almost always female and usually wore the long-tiered wig known on contemporary sculptures of the Daedalic style the body became graceful, and the wings developed a beautiful curving form unknown in Asia. Sphinxes decorated vases, ivories, and metal works and in the late Archaic period occurred as ornaments on temples. Although their context is usually insufficient to enable their meaning to be judged, their appearance on temples suggests a protective function.
By the 5th century clear illustrations of the encounter between Oedipus and the sphinx appeared on vase paintings, usually with the sphinx perched on a column (as can be seen on a red-figure Nolan amphora by the Achilles Painter in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston or on the Vatican Museum’s Attic cup). Other monuments of Classical age showed Oedipus in armed combat with the sphinx and suggested an earlier stage of the legend in which the contest was physical instead of mental. Of such a stage the literature gave no hint, but battles of men and monsters were common in Asian art from prehistoric times down to the Achaemenid Persians, and Greek art may have adopted from the Middle East a pictorial theme that Greek literature did not share.
The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Adam Augustyn, Managing Editor, Reference Content.
The largest and most famous sphinx is the Great Sphinx of Giza, situated on the Giza Plateau adjacent to the Great Pyramids of Giza on the west bank of the Nile River and facing east ( 29°58′31″N 31°08′15″E / 29.97528°N 31.13750°E / 29.97528 31.13750 ). The sphinx is located southeast of the pyramids. While the date of its construction is not known for certain, the general consensus among Egyptologists is that the head of the Great Sphinx bears the likeness of the pharaoh Khafre, dating it to between 2600 and 2500 BCE. However, a fringe minority of late 20th century geologists have claimed evidence of water erosion in and around the Sphinx enclosure which would prove that the Sphinx predates Khafre, at around 10000 to 5000 BCE, a claim that is sometimes referred to as the Sphinx water erosion hypothesis but which has little support among Egyptologists and contradicts other evidence. 
What names their builders gave to these statues is not known. At the Great Sphinx site, a 1400 BCE inscription on a stele belonging to the 18th dynasty pharaoh Thutmose IV lists the names of three aspects of the local sun deity of that period, Khepera–Rê–Atum. Many pharaohs had their heads carved atop the guardian statues for their tombs to show their close relationship with the powerful solar deity Sekhmet, a lioness. Besides the Great Sphinx, other famous Egyptian sphinxes include one bearing the head of the pharaoh Hatshepsut, with her likeness carved in granite, which is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the alabaster Sphinx of Memphis, currently located within the open-air museum at that site. The theme was expanded to form great avenues of guardian sphinxes lining the approaches to tombs and temples as well as serving as details atop the posts of flights of stairs to very grand complexes. Nine hundred sphinxes with ram heads (Criosphinxes), believed to represent Amon, were built in Thebes, where his cult was strongest. At Karnak, each Criosphinx is fronted by a full-length statue of the pharaoh. The task of these sphinxes was to hold back the forces of evil. 
The Great Sphinx has become an emblem of Egypt, frequently appearing on its stamps, coins, and official documents. 
In the Bronze Age, the Hellenes had trade and cultural contacts with Egypt. Before the time that Alexander the Great occupied Egypt, the Greek name, sphinx, was already applied to these statues. [ citation needed ] The historians and geographers of Greece wrote extensively about Egyptian culture. Herodotus called the ram-headed sphinxes Criosphinxes and called the hawk-headed ones Hieracosphinxes. [ citation needed ]
The word sphinx comes from the Greek Σφίγξ, associated by folk etymology with the verb σφίγγω (sphíngō), meaning "to squeeze", "to tighten up".   This name may be derived from the fact that, in a pride of lions, the hunters are the lionesses, and kill their prey by strangulation, biting the throat of prey and holding them down until they die. However, the historian Susan Wise Bauer suggests that the word "sphinx" was instead a Greek corruption of the Egyptian name "shesepankh", which meant "living image", and referred rather to the statue of the sphinx, which was carved out of "living rock" (rock that was present at the construction site, not harvested and brought from another location), than to the beast itself. 
Apollodorus describes the sphinx as having a woman's face, the body and tail of a lion and the wings of a bird.  Pliny the Elder mentions that Ethiopia produces plenty of sphinxes, with brown hair and breasts,  corroborated by 20th century archeologists.  Statius describes her as a winged monster, with pallid cheeks, eyes tainted with corruption, plumes clotted with gore and talons on livid hands.  Sometimes, the wings are specified to be those of an eagle, and the tail to be serpent-headed. [ citation needed ]
There was a single sphinx in Greek mythology, a unique demon of destruction and bad luck. According to Hesiod, the Sphinx—here called "Phix" (Φῖκ’)—was a daughter of Orthrus and either the Chimera (probably) or Echidna (or perhaps even Ceto).  According to Apollodorus  and Lasus,  she was a daughter of Echidna and Typhon.
The sphinx was the emblem of the ancient city-state of Chios, and appeared on seals and the obverse side of coins from the 6th century BCE until the 3rd century CE. 
Riddle of the Sphinx Edit
The Sphinx is said to have guarded the entrance to the Greek city of Thebes, asking a riddle to travellers to allow them passage. The exact riddle asked by the Sphinx was not specified by early tellers of the myth, and was not standardized as the one given below until late in Greek history. 
It was said in late lore that Hera or Ares sent the Sphinx from her Aethiopian homeland (the Greeks always remembered the foreign origin of the Sphinx) to Thebes in Greece where she asked all passersby the most famous riddle in history: "Which creature has one voice and yet becomes four-footed and two-footed and three-footed?" She strangled and devoured anyone who could not answer. Oedipus solved the riddle by answering: "Man—who crawls on all fours as a baby, then walks on two feet as an adult, and then uses a walking stick in old age".  By some accounts  (but much more rarely), there was a second riddle: "There are two sisters: one gives birth to the other and she, in turn, gives birth to the first. Who are the two sisters?" The answer is "day and night" (both words—ἡμέρα and νύξ, respectively—are feminine in Ancient Greek). This second riddle is also found in a Gascon version of the myth and could be very ancient. 
Bested at last, the Sphinx then threw herself from her high rock and died  or, in some versions Oedipus killed her.  An alternative version tells that she devoured herself. [ citation needed ] In both cases, Oedipus can therefore be recognized as a "liminal" or threshold figure, helping effect the transition between the old religious practices, represented by the death of the Sphinx, and the rise of the new, Olympian gods. [ citation needed ]
The riddle in popular culture Edit
In Jean Cocteau's retelling of the Oedipus legend, The Infernal Machine, the Sphinx tells Oedipus the answer to the riddle in order to kill herself so that she did not have to kill anymore, and also to make him love her. He leaves without ever thanking her for giving him the answer to the riddle. The scene ends when the Sphinx and Anubis ascend back to the heavens.
There are mythic, anthropological, psychoanalytic and parodic interpretations of the Riddle of the Sphinx, and of Oedipus's answer to it. Sigmund Freud describes "the question of where babies come from" as a riddle of the Sphinx. 
Numerous riddle books use the Sphinx in their title or illustrations. 
25 shocking facts about the Great Sphinx of Giza that are missing from history books
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The great Sphinx of Giza is considered an ancient marvel not only because of its size and confusing design but because of the countless mysteries that surround this ancient structure. Did you know that the Ancient Egyptians have no records about the Sphinx being built? Curiously, this ancient monument was discovered–almost entirely buried in Sand—in 1817, when the first modern archaeological dig, led by Giovanni Battista Caviglia managed to uncover the Sphinx’s chest completely. This ancient monument has captured the imagination of not only archaeologists but scientists and tourists who have visited this ancient statue since time immemorial.
Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting facts about the Sphinx, you most likely didn’t know.
The Great Sphinx of Giza faces the rising Sun.
Whoever built the Great Sphinx, wanted it to be aligned. The Sphinx is oriented due east facing the rising sun near the 30th parallel.
According to some texts, ancient Egyptians referred to the Sphinx as balhib and bilhaw. Circa 1500 B.C.E. it was referred to as Hor-em-akht – Horus in the Horizon, Bw-How Place of Horus and also as Ra-horakhty Ra of Two Horizons.
The Arabs knew the Sphinx as Abu al-Hawl (Father of Terror), which apparently is identified with the ancient Greek myth.
The Great Sphinx of Egypt is considered the largest single-stone statue in the world and around 200 tons of stone were quarried in the construction phase to build the temple next to it.
The Great Sphinx originally had a beard, several pieces of the beard of the Sphinx are located in the British Museum in London and the Cairo Museum.
Author Robert K. G. Temple proposes that the Sphinx was originally a statue of the Jackal-Dog Anubis, the God of the Necropolis, and that its face was recarved in the likeness of a Middle Kingdom pharaoh, Amenemhet II.
First-century writer Pliny the Elder mentioned the Great Sphinx in his Natural History, commenting that the Egyptians looked upon the statue as a “divinity” that has been passed over in silence and “that King Harmais was buried in it.
Geologists and scholars agree that in the distant past Egypt was subjected to severe flooding, thus water erosion is present on the construction of the Sphinx. Wind erosion cannot take place when the body of the Sphinx is covered by sand.
Edgar Cayce, a modern prophet—also known as the modern-day Nostradamus—prophesied in 1932 that the Sphinx was built in 10500 BCE by the Ancient Atlantean civilization. Furthermore, he stated that a secret room is located underneath it called the ‘Hall of Records’ containing the secrets and wisdom of the ancient Atlantean civilization and the human race.
The Hall of Records is said to house the knowledge of the Ancient Egyptians documented in ancient papyrus scrolls and is believed to account for the history of the lost continent of Atlantis, as well as its location. Compared in importance, the Egyptian Hall of Records is just as the Great Library of Alexandria, which housed Grecian Knowledge.
Charles Thompson, who explored the Sphinx in 1733, mentioned entrances and a “hole in the top of the back” of the Sphinx.
There are three passages into or under the Sphinx, the “Tomb of Osiris” is one of the most incredible discoveries linked to the Sphinx, located 95 feet below the surface behind the back of the Sphinx. It is believed to be the resting place of Egyptian God Osiris.
Interestingly, in 1987 a Japanese team from Waseda University (Tokyo), under the direction of Sakuji Yoshimura carried out an electromagnetic sounding survey of the Khufu Pyramid and Sphinx. Experts discovered: A. South of the Sphinx. The Japanese indicated the existence of a hollow 2.5 m. to 3 m. underground. And, they found indications of a groove on the Sphinx body that extends beneath the Sphinx. B. North of the Sphinx. The Japanese found another groove similar to the southern one which may indicate that maybe there is a tunnel underneath the Sphinx connecting the south and north grooves. C. In front of the two paws of the Sphinx. The Japanese found another hollow space about 1 m. to 2 m. below surface. Again, they believe that it might extend underneath the Sphinx.
According to secrethistoy.wikia.com, there is also documented evidence of a large rectangular entrance on top of the hips at the back of the sphinx.
In 1995, workers renovating a nearby parking lot uncovered a series of tunnels and pathways, two of which plunge further underground close to the Sphinx.
In 1857, Auguste Mariette, founder of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, unearthed the much later Inventory Stela (estimated Dynasty XXVI, c. 678–525 BC), which tells how Khufu came upon the Sphinx, already buried in sand.
The inventory stela—made of polished granite and decorated with a commemorative inscription and a so-called apparition window—was found in Giza during the 19th century. The stela presents a list of 22 divine statues owned by a Temple of Isis, and goes on to claim that the temple existed since before the time of Khufu (c. 2580 BC). The stela was discovered in 1858 at Giza by the French archaeologist Auguste Mariette, during excavations of the Isis temple. The tablet was located very close to the Great Sphinx of Giza.
This ancient stela points to the possibility that the Great Sphinx of Giza was built before the reign of Khufu and not by him. The Stela reads:
“Long live The King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Khufu, given life
He found the house of Isis, Mistress of the Pyramid, by the side of the hollow of Hwran (The Sphinx)
and he built his pyramid beside the temple of this goddess and he built a pyramid for the King’s daughter Henutsen beside this temple.
The place of Hwran Horemakhet is on the South side of the House of Isis, Mistress of the pyramid
He restored the statue, all covered in painting, of the guardian of the atmosphere, who guides the winds with his gaze.
He replaced the back part of the Nemes head-dress, which was missing with gilded stone.
The figure of this god, cut in stone, is solid and will last to eternity, keeping its face looking always to the East”
According to a study presented at the International Conference of Geoarchaeology and Archaeomineralogy held in Sofia titled: GEOLOGICAL ASPECT OF THE PROBLEM OF DATING THE GREAT EGYPTIAN SPHINX CONSTRUCTION, there is conclusive evidence to suggest that the Great Sphinx of Giza dates back 800,000 years.
However, there are Geological findings that indicate that the Sphinx may have been sculpted sometime before 10,000 BC, a period that coincides with the Age of Leo, or the Lion, which lasted from 10,970 to 8810 BC.
According to Graham Hancock, computer simulations show that in 10,500 BC the constellation of Leo housed the sun on the spring equinox – i.e. an hour before dawn in that epoch Leo would have reclined due east along the horizon in the place where the sun would soon rise. This means that the lion-bodied Sphinx, with its due-east orientation, would have gazed directly on that morning at the one constellation in the sky that might reasonably be regarded as its own celestial counterpart.
Interestingly, Gaston Maspero, a French Egyptologist known for popularizing the term “Sea Peoples” in an 1881 paper, wrote in the book the Dawn of Civilization “… the Sphinx could have existed since the days of the followers of Horus,” a race of predynastic and semi-divine beings, which, according to beliefs of the ancient Egyptians had ruled thousands of years before the Pharaohs of Egypt.” (source)
No. Evidence. Whatsoever. The Ancient Egyptians were splendid record keepers. In fact, they made it sure to write down nearly everything so future generations could appreciate their accomplishments. Strangely, there are no written texts that speak about the Sphinx. It is as if the Great Sphinx wasn’t built by the Ancient Egyptians.
Residues of red pigment are visible on areas of the Sphinx’s face. Traces of yellow and blue pigment have been found elsewhere on the Sphinx, leading Mark Lehner to suggest that the monument “was once decked out in gaudy comic book colors”