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.
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”