Great Sphinx of Giza
|Fiction over fact|
|How it didn't happen|
The Great Sphinx of Giza is a giant 20-meter (66 ft) high and 73-meter (240 ft) long statue near the Giza pyramids in Egypt. If you ask most Egyptologists, the Sphinx was probably carved around 2500 BCE by the ancient Egyptians. We know this due to the layout of the surrounding structures, the architectural style, and an examination of the stone's origin. It's usually attributed to the Pharaoh Khafre (2520-2494 BCE), but it's also possible that it was built by Khafre's father Pharaoh Khufu (2589–2566 BCE) or brother Pharaoh Djedefre (2528–2520 BCE). It may be even older than that, though, as some scholars think that it was originally just a statue of a lion that was later carved down into its current shape, based on the fact that its current head looks a bit disproportionately small.
Water erosion hypothesis
The so-called "Water erosion hypothesis" states that the Sphinx displays erosion that can be caused only by rain. Egypt today is not exactly known for its heavy rains, but that was different in prehistoric times. Therefore the Sphinx must be much older than the commonly accepted 2500 BCE (usually 10,000 to 5000 BCE).
Many people have pointed out that the weathering is not necessarily due to rain, but could also be consistent with (a combination of) several other erosion processes such as salt crystallization, groundwater percolation, and wind erosion. Even if the weathering could not be explained by any other means, the complete lack of any artifacts or inscriptions older than 5000 BCE anywhere in Egypt that are the hallmark of an advanced society[note 1] would make it just as likely that the weathering would be due to some unknown process or environmental factor, and not due to an unknown civilization.
People who promote this include Robert Schoch (who holds a PhD in Geology and Geophysics) and Graham Hancock (in Fingerprints of the Gods). Jason Colavito has compiled a fairly straightforward summary of their and other claims as well as an accompanying debunking.[note 2]
ZOMG! ALIENS BUILT THE PYRAMIDS!!!1!!
One strand of complete nonsense involves claims that the face of the Sphinx is "the same as" the Face on Mars, and that the Martian Cydonia region contains a complex of associated pyramids and causeways similar to that at Giza. We don't see the resemblance at all. We honestly don't know what else to tell you.
Nose and beard
The Sphinx has no nose.[note 3] This is usually attributed to vandalism in the 14th century by Muslim fanatic Muhammad Sa'im al-Dahr, who attacked the statue after hearing of peasants making tribute to it and was hanged for his crimes. Whether this is actually true is not entirely clear, since the same report also mentions the ears being damaged, yet they're still present. Another popular story is that Napoleon's soldiers accidentally destroyed it, which is easily disproven by drawings made before Napoleon's birth. Furthermore, Napoleon did everything in his power to treat the locals with the utmost respect during his Egyptian expedition and his army included a significant number of the leading scholars in their field, so such an act of blatant vandalism would have been highly uncharacteristic and Napoleon would have likely blasted the responsible party themselves with cannonballs at point-blank range if something like that had happened. In any case, the severing of the Sphinx's nose has long been a stock event in works involving wacky hijinks by ancient Egyptians or clumsy time travelers.
The Sphinx also had a beard, most likely added in the 18th Dynasty (about 1550-1295 BCE) during a New Kingdom restoration of the statue, which fell off in antiquity. A new temple dedicated to it was also added at that time, and its remains can still be seen to the northeast of the Sphinx. The remains of the beard were discovered in excavations conducted in 1817 by Giovanni Battista Caviglia, working for Henry Salt. A part of it now resides in the British Museum, while other fragments, found in subsequent excavations in 1925-1926, are now in the Cairo Museum.
- Keep in mind that people have inhabited Egypt for tens of thousands of years, and we have artifacts from Egypt dating far before 5000 BCE, just not any that point to an advanced, post-Neolithic civilization.
- See also Colavito's review/debunking of Schoch's 2017 book (co-written with Robert Bauval), The Origin of the Sphinx (part 1).
- "No nose? How does it smell?" "Terrible!"
- Why Sequence is Important
- Daily Telegraph, December 14th, 2002, I have solved riddle of the Sphinx, says Frenchman
- Riddle of the Sphinx
- Robert Schoch, 1992 Redating the Great Sphinx of Giza
- Robert Schoch, 2002, Geological Evidence Petaining to the Age of the Great Sphinx
- Jeffrey Levin, International Symposium on the Great Sphinx, The GCI Newsletter, 7.2, Summer 1992
- Lacovara, Peter (2004). [link The Pyramids, the Sphinx: Tombs and Temples of Giza]. Bunker Hill Publishing. p. 64. ISBN 978-1-59373-022-2.
- How Old Are The Pyramids?
- Jason Colavito, 2001: Who Built the Great Sphinx?
- THE MARS-EARTH CONNECTION
- Did Napoleon's troops shoot the nose off the Sphinx? by Tom Holmberg
- Fragment of the beard of the Great Sphinx
- Wilkinson, R W (2000), The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt, Thames and Hudson, London