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article imageBehind the mystical Sphinx: Was it really built by Egyptians?

By Eko Armunanto     Jun 2, 2013 in Science
The term Sphinx came into use some 2,000 years after it was built. Although modern Egyptology at large believes the Great Sphinx was built in around 2500 BC, there are also indications to suggest it was built by unknown advanced society some 9000 BC
Smithsonian says the question of who built the Sphinx has long vexed Egyptologists and archaeologists. Lehner, Hawass and others agree it was Pharaoh Khafre, who ruled Egypt during the Old Kingdom, which began around 2600 BC and lasted some 500 years before giving way to civil war and famine. It’s known from hieroglyphic texts that Khafre’s father, Khufu, built the 481-foot-tall Great Pyramid, a quarter mile from where the Sphinx would later be built. Khafre, following a tough act, constructed his own pyramid, ten feet shorter than his father’s, also a quarter of a mile behind the Sphinx. Some of the evidence linking Khafre with the Sphinx comes from Lehner’s research, but the idea dates back to 1853.
But the mystical nature of the Great Sphinx has also attracted fringe theories about whether the creature has a more supernatural origin, including a possible link to the Lost City of Atlantis. The Egypt-Atlantis connection has been around since Plato first wrote about the utopian civilization. Around the turn of the 20th century, American psychic Edgar Allan Cayce said he had a vision about a chamber beneath the Sphinx that held the secret to the whereabouts of Atlantis.
Geologist Colin Reader says the head of the original sphinx had been re-sculpted from an original lion's head into an Egyptian pharaoh-style head. “Take away the pharaoh-style head and all the Egyptian traits disappear,” he said. Colin came to a possible conclusion that Sphinx was originally sculpted by an unknown culture in the far distant past, conservative estimates place it at the very beginning of Predynastic times (some 9000 BC).
Other geologist Robert Schoch concluded that Sphinx must be much older than currently believed after investigate, in the 1990s, the weathering found on the body of the Sphinx and surrounding ditch the monument was carved from. Schoch claims the amount of water erosion the Sphinx has experienced indicates a construction date no later than the 6th millennium BC or 5th millennium BC, at least two thousand years before the widely accepted construction date and 1,500 years prior to the accepted date for the beginning of Egyptian civilization.
Both Schoch and Reader base their conclusions not only on the Sphinx and surrounding enclosure, but have also taken into account other weathering features found on the Giza plateau from monuments such as the Sphinx Temple which are known to be consistent with the time period the Sphinx was constructed.
Because these conclusions require a re-dating of the Sphinx to an earlier time before the construction of large monuments, these weathering theory has not been accepted by mainstream Egyptologists. At issue is whether Egyptian officials are blocking research that might shed new light on the Sphinx and its origins; but because many of the theories relied more heavily on mysticism and speculation than on science, the response from officials like Dr. Zahi Hawass, the director of the Pyramids, has been equally scathing.
“'I call them the Pyramidiots,” Dr. Hawass said of the most outspoken of his critics, who believe that beneath the Sphinx there may lay an undiscovered secret chamber containing the records of an advanced civilization lost to history.
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