After our visit to the Pyramids we will wander over to an even more mysterious enigma. This one as regal and royal in time and history as any pharaoh. Appearing to have been craved right out of the limestone that encloses him; the Sphinx rises like an immortal warrior protecting ancient secrets. The ancient secrets are for another post, for now we focus on the warrior itself.
With the body of nature’s king of beasts and the head of a man, supposedly a specific man; the Sphinx has been impressing visitors and conquerors alike since time immortal it seems. The first modern excavation of the sight was in 1817 supervised by the Italian Captain Giovanni Battista Caviglia, this uncovered the structure to the chest. Latter excavations finally fully exposed the grand beast in the early 20th century. The whole structure is 240 feet (73 meters) long and 66 feet (20 meters) high.
If we accept the dates given by modern Egyptologists, the Sphinx was carved out of his limestone ridge circa 2500BCE. The accepted date for the beginning of Egyptian culture, by the same experts is circa 3000BCE. This means that ancient Egyptians went from being wandering hunter gathers, with no civilization, to one of the most enduring societies in histories, with such precise construction methods that their works still stand, in less than 500 years. That is an astonishingly amazing endeavor. Some can say, look at what we accomplished in the last 100 years; and while it is certainly true that humans have achieved some extraordinary strides in the last century, we did not begin the 20th century lacking aspects of civilization, at least not technological ones.
Some of the earliest researchers of the Giza Necropolis, whom seem to have had much more open minds and sought truth and knowledge over fame and fortune, believed that the Sphinx and other construction within the plaza area predated the traditional construction dates. However, as is the case more and more, if the ‘evidence’ does not fit the stated ‘facts’ put forth by the experts then the ‘evidence’ cannot be trusted or is not accurate. One such example, the Dream Stella, which was almost a millennium after the time of Khafre, and which is no longer complete and cannot be studied, supposedly stated that the Sphinx was linked to Khafre and is accepted by most modern Egyptologists as proof of their date, as well as, the builder. However, there is the Inventory Stella, also a much later artifact, which states that the Sphinx was already buried in the sand before the reign of Khafre. Since this contradicts the mainstream ‘facts’ it is dismissed as Late Period historical revisionism and therefore not trustworthy.
This attitude that certain artifacts of a specific type are proof if they match the experts’ story, but are not trustworthy if they do not, can be seen in all archaeological areas of exploration. If you look you can even see that within certain sources the ‘experts’ will take only the lines or words that support ‘facts’ as being accurate or trustworthy and the bits that don’t fit are just fluff or added fanciful decoration to enhance the status of the rulers or people or event. The wonder is that these ‘experts’ not only manage to maintain their status or even increase it, they have the power to destroy the credibility of any whom question the blatant whims of the ‘experts’.
Are there more scientific methods for dating the age of our immortal guardian? Of course there are, however, there is controversy there as well. It is pretty clear that most ‘experts’ in one field of study NEVER want an ‘expert’ from another field to encroach on their turf. And the Sphinx is one of those areas. The fact is that the Sphinx is carved from limestone, this means that geologists should have some knowledge of the structure as a whole, including the age. The problem is that some geologists that have studied the Sphinx from a purely geologic point of view, since that is their area, state that our immortal guardian has stood the test of time that would make the title of immortal or timeless apropos.
Their foundation for stating that the Sphinx could be much much older than Egyptologists claim, is that the weathering evident on the enclosure walls of the creature is not from wind and sand, which would have been much smoother and horizontal, but from water, specifically rainfall and rain run-off. The amount of rainfall and the time over which it would have needed to accrue means that the climate of the area could not be arid desert. This previous statement is one of disagreement among geologists as well as paleoclimatologists. Another theory, by other geologists is that it was salt crystallization that created the ‘ridges’ of erosion. However, it seems clear that the whole of the theories of geologists that have studied the warrior and will actually speak up about their opinions seem to follow the same conclusion that he is older than the date given by Egyptologists.
The last enigma regarding our immortal warrior is his head. The general consensus regarding the face/head of the Sphinx is that it is the likeness of Khufu. In its current state, this may actually be an accurate statement. Yet, there are differences between the known statue of Khufu located in the Cairo Museum and the current Sphinx face. Furthermore and more important to our point of view, there are doubts to any logical mind that the current face of the Sphinx was the original face fashioned by the creators. What is the proof for such a claim? Proportion and resilience; if you look at all the carvings and statues left from the Ancient Egyptians their creations are amazingly perfect in their scale and design. Even the body of the Sphinx is amazing in its design, if age has diminished its perfection. Such care and skill would not have been limited to the body and ignored with the most important part of the sculpture, the head. All one has to do is to look at the profile of the Sphinx to see that the current head is small and imperfect for the body. The stone material is harder limestone from that of the body and should be more durable. The face seems to have sustained a lot more damage than the body, some of that could be attributed to the fact that the head was visible over a greater amount of time than the body. There are also claims that Napoleon’s men used the head for target practice.
It seems that the Riddle of the Sphinx may never give up its secrets. But that may be the purpose of the grand beast, to encourage and entice us to seek answers and to ask questions, to wonder and ponder our past and in doing so maybe find our future.