Redating the Great Sphinx
by Robert Schoch
Many people know me best for my work on the Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt. The Great Sphinx sits near the Great Pyramid on the western bank of the Nile, outside of modern Cairo. According to standard Egyptological thinking, the Great Sphinx was carved from the limestone bedrock on the orders of the Old Kingdom Pharaoh Khafre around 2500 B.C.
In 1990 I first traveled to Egypt, with the sole purpose of examining the Great Sphinx from a geological perspective. I assumed that the Egyptologists were correct in their dating, but soon I discovered that the geological evidence was not compatible with what the Egyptologists were saying.
On the body of the Sphinx, and on the walls of the Sphinx Enclosure (the pit or hollow remaining after the Sphinx’s body was carved from the bedrock), I found heavy erosional features (seen in the accompanying photographs) that I concluded could only have been caused by rainfall and water runoff.
The thing is, the Sphinx sits on the edge of the Sahara Desert and the region has been quite arid for the last 5000 years. Furthermore, various structures securely dated to the Old Kingdom show only erosion that was caused by wind and sand (very distinct from the water erosion). To make a long story short, I came to the conclusion that the oldest portions of the Great Sphinx, what I refer to as the core-body, must date back to an earlier period (at least 5000 B.C., and maybe as early as 7000 or 9000 B.C.), a time when the climate was very different and included more rain.
Many people have said to me that the Great Sphinx cannot be so old, in part because the head is clearly a dynastic Egyptian head and the dynastic period did not start until about 3000 B.C. In fact, if you look at the current Great Sphinx you may notice that the head is actually too small for the body. It is clear to me that the current head is not the original head. The original head would have become severely weathered and eroded. It was later re-carved, during dynastic times, and in the re-carving it naturally became smaller. Thus, the head of the Great Sphinx is not the original head. In fact, the Sphinx may not have originally been a sphinx at all. Perhaps it was a male lion.
To further test the theory of an older Sphinx, we carried out seismic studies around the base of the statue to measure the depth of subsurface weathering. Basically, we used a sledgehammer on a steel plate to generate sound waves that penetrated the rock, reflected, and returned to the surface. This gave us information about the subsurface qualities of the limestone bedrock. When I analyzed the data, I found that the extraordinary depth of subsurface weathering supported my conclusion that the core-body of the Sphinx must date back to 5000 B.C. or earlier.
During the seismic studies we also discovered clear evidence of a cavity or chamber under the left paw of the Sphinx. For what it is worth, some have suggested to me that this may be a "Hall of Records" (at the time I was not aware of Edgar Cayce's predictions along these lines). Additionally, we found some lesser (and previously known) cavities under and around the Sphinx, and the data also indicates that there may be a tunnel-like feature running the length of the body. A published article on our seismic work around the Sphinx is available via the link below.
Back in the early 1990s, when I first suggested that the Great Sphinx was much older than generally believed at the time, I was challenged by Egyptologists who asked, "Where is the evidence of that earlier civilization?" that could have built the Sphinx. They were sure that sophisticated culture, what we call civilization, did not exist prior to about 3000 or 4000 B.C. Now, however, there is clear evidence of high culture dating back over 10,000 years ago, at a site in Turkey known as Göbekli Tepe.
Was the Great Sphinx Surrounded By a Moat?
According to Robert Temple, a moat theory explains the water weathering of the Sphinx without hypothesizing that it dates back to an earlier period of more rainfall than the present. I will not address his other hypotheses, which I do not find persuasive, that the Sphinx was the jackal [wild dog] Anubis and the face seen on the Sphinx is that of the Middle Kingdom pharaoh Amenemhet II, though I note the original Sphinx has been reworked and the head re-carved.
While in Egypt recently (March 2009) I looked at the Great Sphinx with fresh eyes. I will summarize half a dozen points.
1) The Sphinx Temple (built out of blocks removed from the Sphinx Enclosure when the body of the Sphinx was initially carved) and the Valley Temple to the south show heavy precipitation-induced weathering on their core blocks. These limestone temples were subsequently refurbished with Aswan granite facings during the Old Kingdom. The moat theory cannot explain the nature of the very ancient weathering seen under the Old Kingdom granite veneer.
2) Much heavier surface erosion occurs on the western end of the Sphinx Enclosure, tapering off dramatically toward the eastern end. This is due to ancient rains and the paleohydrology of the area. This erosion is not compatible with pooled water in the enclosure.
3) The highest levels of the middle member strata, seen in the Sphinx Enclosure on the western end, are most severely eroded, as expected from rain. If the moat theory were true, then the lower strata on the eastern end of the Sphinx Enclosure would be most heavily eroded (caused by water being brought in via canals from the Nile), but the opposite is seen.
4) Seismic data demonstrating the depth of weathering below the floor of the Sphinx Enclosure, based on my analyses (calibrated very conservatively), gives a minimum age of at least 7,000 years ago for the core body of the Sphinx. Standing water in the Sphinx Enclosure would not accelerate the depth of weathering below the floor of the enclosure.
5) The vertical fissures observed in the walls of the Sphinx Enclosure show diagnostic signs of having been formed by precipitation and water runoff. They do not show any characteristics that are diagnostic or even suggestive of having been formed by artificial dredging of the Sphinx Enclosure, as Robert Temple suggests.
6) Assuming the argument that the Sphinx sat in a pool, either the water level around the Sphinx was the same as that of the surrounding water table, or the walls and floor of the pool were sealed up and watertight (and any artificial walls, such as on the eastern end, were strong enough to withstand the water pressure). (Note that the current western end of the Sphinx Enclosure is at a much higher elevation than the eastern end [see the figure on page 534 of The Sphinx Mystery by Robert Temple with Olivia Temple, Inner Traditions, 2009], yet clear water erosion is shown at the higher elevations at the western end.
Since water seeks its own level, if the water in a supposed moat reached to the height of the western end of the Sphinx Enclosure, then the eastern end as well as the walls along the northern and southern sides must have been built up to a comparable height as the western end. This is independent of whether or not the eastern wall of the enclosure [= western wall of the Sphinx Temple] has a base of natural bedrock or was entirely composed of cut and placed stone.)
We know that the ancient water table was well below the level of the floor of the Sphinx Enclosure (or else the Sphinx Temple would have been flooded). The Sphinx Enclosure, if simply carved from the bedrock (as all the evidence suggests) would not have held a deep pool of standing water. The bedrock in the enclosure is highly faulted, and characterized by a karst morphology that would leak like a sieve. The enclosure would need to be fully sealed up (with mortar or cement, perhaps), and there is no evidence of such sealing. If the enclosure had been sealed in such a manner, this would not be compatible with the dredging theory for the vertical fissures. Furthermore, chambers and tunnels under the Sphinx would have been flooded from above if the Sphinx had been sitting in a pool of water, unless the Sphinx Enclosure had been watertight.
For those further interested, below is a link to an abstract of a technical paper I wrote, entitled "EROSION PROCESSES ON THE GREAT SPHINX AND ITS DATING." I presented the information at a 1999 conference organized by the University of Bergamo.http://www.unibg.it/convegni /NEW_SCENARIOS/ Abstracts/Schoch.htm
For those still further interested, here are links to more information on the seismic data and the geological data.
Click below to download a PDF of an article I wrote for the Australian magazine New Dawn. It's titled, "Searching for the Dawn and Demise of Ancient Civilisation"
The Mystery of the Sphinx
By Dr. Lee E. Warren B.A., D.D.
Along with the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Sphinx is one of the greatest enigmas and the most studied ancient monument of mankind’s history. The whole complex of Giza, composed of the Sphinx, the Great Pyramid, other pyramids, and distinct structures, definitely holds the key to understanding advanced past civilizations. There is no other place teeming with so many researchers looking into the mysteries of mankind’s past, which may cause history to be rewritten.
A two-part article on the Great Pyramid of Giza appeared in previous issues of the "PLIM REPORT." These articles showed that one of the most perplexing things about this structure, besides its design, purpose, construction, and assembling method, is that there were no written records found among the Egyptian hieroglyphics regarding its construction. What confounds the experts when they try to ascertain the Pyramid's origin is figuring out how a civilization could have built a project of this size without some records.
In the examination of the mystery of the great Sphinx we run into a similar situation. The Egyptians wrote very little about the construction of the Sphinx. However, the Egyptians, Romans, and Arabs did write accounts concerning its numerous restorations, which will be discussed later in this article. In addition, it should be said that other cultures had their form of a Sphinx. For example, the Greek Sphinx was female with a human head, breasts, and the body of a feminine lion.
What theories exist on the Sphinx?
There are basically two schools of thought concerning the origin, age, and the builder of the Sphinx in Egypt. The established group are Egyptologists who believe that Pharaoh Khafre built the Sphinx around 2500 B.C., which is about the 4th dynasty. This theory makes the Sphinx about 5,000 years old according to Dr. Zahi Hawass, Director of Giza Saqqara of the Egyptian Antiquities Organization (p. 348) as stated in Graham Hancock’s book Fingerprints of the Gods (© 1995 Crown Trade Paperbacks).
The other school of thought does not believe that the Egyptians built the Sphinx, but think that it was built by an advanced civilization 8,000 to 10,000 B.C. This school of thought has been around for hundreds of years, but new findings give it more credibility. Recently, Graham Hancock, John West, an American scholar, Robert Bauval, and others have presented certain evidence that challenges the traditional thoughts about the Sphinx and the whole Giza complex.
They present proof that may cause a rethinking of the model used to determine who built the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid and for what purpose. Their proofs consist of basically two pieces of evidence. First the geological indications that the Sphinx’s erosion was due to water rather than wind/sand making it much older than previously thought, according to the book Fingerprint of the Gods. Second, astronomical alignments show that the Sphinx was clearly an equinoctial marker facing east, which identifies the exact position on the horizon that the sun dawns on the spring equinox (1st day of spring) according to Graham Hancock’s and Robert Bauval’s book The Message of the Sphinx (p. 59).
Many of the legends of the Egyptians and Arabs support this position. They believe that an advanced civilization prior to the flood (i.e., in the Ante-Diluvian Age) built these structures which will be discussed later in this article.
These new findings imply that mankind’s history is older than the 6,000 years of Christian tradition and an advanced ancient civilization built the Sphinx. This would mean that history would have to be rewritten or a better understanding of Moses account of creation.
Graham Hancock quotes John West’s view on the orthodox view of mankind’s history. "We are told that the evolution of human civilization is a linear process-that it goes from stupid cave man to smart old us with our hydrogen bombs and striped toothpaste. But the proof is the Sphinx…means that there must have been, … high and sophisticated civilization-just as legends affirms (p. 358)." …
What are the form and dimensions of the Sphinx?
Now no one knows how the Sphinx looked at its completion because both natural erosion and destruction at the hand of man have altered its original form. Archeologists and historians found many pictures of the Sphinx drawn with wings, the body of a lion and ox, and the face of man. Today only the face of a man and body of a lion are apparent on the Great Sphinx.
Now the Sphinx faces east or the rising sun. Many Egyptologists overlooked this simple fact, which will play a major part in identifying its purpose.
The Sphinx was carved out of a single piece of stone weighing hundreds of tons. It is over 200 feet in length or about as long as a city block. According to Manly P. Hall’s book The Secret Teachings of the Ages (p. XLII), the Sphinx is about 70 feet in height and is 38 feet across the shoulders. Now no one knows what types of tools were used to carve the stone.
What observations of the Sphinx have been made in the present and past?
Those observing the Sphinx first hand are in awe of it. It seems to radiate that it is thousands of years old and has withstood the ages of time. There is also something very mystical about it that tends to convey to the observer that there is something metaphysical or spiritual about it.
According to Manly Hall, for thousands of years, the Sphinx had been a symbol of strength and intelligence to the Egyptian culture. The ancients also thought that it portrayed an androgynous being showing that all partakes of the positive and negative powers of the Gods. Most Egyptologists confirmed this belief.
What inscriptions are on the Sphinx?
Although there are no records regarding the construction of the Sphinx, there are records of its restoration. The "Sphinx Stela," a stone-engraved inscription dated around 1400 B.C., is the oldest record concerning the Sphinx. According to Fingerprints of the Gods, it describes the restoration of the Sphinx by Pharaoh Thutmosis IV (1401-1391 B.C.) of the 18th Dynasty.
The Stela states that during a hunting trip Prince Thutmosis became tired and slept in the shadow of the Sphinx. He had a dream that the Sphinx promised to reward him with a double crown of Egypt if he would remove the sand from it and restore the sculpture.
According to Manly Hall’s book and Max Thoth book Pyramid Prophecies (p. 158), another account of this legend states that the god appeared unto Prince Thutmosis asking him to do the same. Due to erosion of the stela inscription, no one knows how this promised was fulfilled.
Basically, this granite inscription described the form of the Sphinx as a lion’s body. It also stated that the embodiment was "a great magical power that existed in this place from the beginning of all time (p. 11)," according to the book The Message of the Sphinx by Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval (© 1996 Three Rivers Press).
Now this stone inscription did not explain the purpose, the original designer and builder, or the date of the Sphinx’s erection. However, it did cause a great controversy. On line 13 of the inscription it contains the first syllable "Khaf" and it has been associated with King Khafre of the Fourth Dynasty of Pharaoh, who reigned during 2520-2494 B.C.
From this inscription the orthodox view found in any textbook and encyclopedia states that King Khafre built the Sphinx. It will be shown later that a minority group does not accept this view.
Since the Sphinx is located in a desert region, the sand constantly recovered it. In the last 200 years the Sphinx has been excavated and re-excavated four or five times. Basically, this has been the history of the Sphinx.
Are there other historical views of the Sphinx?
Graham Hancock’s book describes the modern Egyptologist’s view that Pharaoh Khafre built the Sphinx and other monuments, which would make them only 100 years old. Before this, the common view was that the Sphinx and the other monuments of the Giza were built by an advanced antediluvian civilization that was destroyed by the flood.
Many 19th and 20th century researchers supported this. The late Wallis Budge, authors of many books on ancient Egypt, and Keeper of the Egyptian Antiquities at the British Museum, believed that the Sphinx was much older than Egypt. Hancock makes the following quotes: "The Sphinx was thought to be connected in some way with foreigners or with a foreign religion, which dated from predynastic (p. 347)."
The Romans and Arabs believed this view. Now the book The Message of the Sphinx verifies this. It states that Roman Armmianus Marcellinus directed treasure hunters to look for books and scrolls in the Sphinx’s repository. They believed that records of this civilization were stored to "prevent the ancient wisdom from being lost in the flood of past age (p. 85)." Arab records of the 9th century also confirm this view.
What did Edgar Cayce say about the "Hall of Records"?
Edgar Cayce (1877-1945) has been called the sleeping prophet. Cayce had the ability to put himself into a deep trance. This allowed him to diagnose various physical illnesses and reveal a treatment. While in these deep trances, Cayce also spoke of Atlantis, the Sphinx, and Egypt.
He stated in some of his trances that Egypt was the repository for records of the alleged civilization of Atlantis, about 10,500 B.C. This repository was an underground library, called the Hall of Records," that contains the wisdom of Atlantis. Cayce said that during this period this was the first attempt to restore and add to the Sphinx.
Cayce claims that the Sphinx points in the direction of the "Hall of Records." His reading states: "There is a chamber or passage from the right forepaw of the [Sphinx] to this entrance of the Hall of records, or chamber," as quoted by Graham Hancock Many of his followers believe this chamber will be found before the end of the 20th century.
Now in the 1980’s and 1990’s the Edgar Cayce Foundation conducted quite a bit of research in Egypt around the Sphinx to verify Cayce’s reading. Although researchers from all over the world have begun to look for this chamber with very sophisticated instruments, they have not found the Hall of Records." …
What is the metaphysical explanation?
Manly Hall states in his book that there are many myths and legends surrounding the Sphinx. The Bible will show later that there is quite a bit of truth in many of these myths and legends.
The most popular myth was that "…the Sphinx was the true portal [entrance] of the Great Pyramid…(p. XLII)" Mr. Hall quotes from P. Christian’s book Historie de la Magie (Paris, 1876). P. Christian states that "The Great Sphinx of Gizeh served as the entrance to the sacred subterranean chambers [of the Great Pyramid] in which the trials of the initiate were to be undergone …(p. XLII)." Now P. Christian claims that sand and rubbish covered a bronze door in the forelegs of the Sphinx that the Magi sprung open. Now various diggings around the Great Pyramid have not verified any of these basic claims about the Sphinx
The consensus about the Sphinx is that some priestly class erected it for some symbolical purpose. It is clear from the granite Stela, inscription by Pharaoh Thutmosis IV of the Fourth Dynasty, that many of previous eras believe that there is something magical about this Sphinx.
What proof do the Egyptologists have to support their theory on the sphinx?
As was stated earlier in this article, the traditional view of Egyptologists is that the Egyptian Pharaoh Khafre of the fourth Dynasty built the Great Sphinx along with the Great Pyramid, about 2500 B.C.. Hancock states in his book Fingerprint of the Gods that there are three pieces of evidence Egyptologists use to support their position (p. 158).
First, they mention the interpretation of the Khafre name on the Sphinx Stela, in which vast portions of the text are eroded. The second piece of evidence attributes Khafre as the builder of the monuments in the Valley of the Temple, which Hancock says is a very shaky premise. The third proof is that the face of the Sphinx is thought to resemble a statue of Khafre.
These are the so-called facts that Egyptologists used to determine the sphinx builders. They are flimsy at best and are definitely not smoking guns. Any layman knows that if this evidence were presented in a criminal case, it would be thrown out of court.
What new theory exists on the Sphinx?
Now the other view of the Great Sphinx was that its builder was a civilization that existed before the Egyptians. This civilization existed in the antediluvian age (i.e. before the ‘Great Flood’). The time frame this group placed on the construction of the Sphinx is between 5,000 – 10,500 B.C. The Egyptians came later and built their tombs and temples alongside and on top of these great structures.
Now the evidence consists of first ancient astronomical and astrological calculations of the stars and secondly of geological evidences that the Sphinx and other monuments of Giza suffered water erosion. It is this evidence that has turned the Egyptologists’ world upside down. Many have chosen to ignore the evidence.
Robert Bauval, a Belgian construction engineer, had a flair for astronomy. He saw that the monuments in the Giza region on the earth mimic various constellations in the sky. It was this piece of evidence that the Egyptologists had ignored.
He showed that the three pyramids align with the stars in the Orion constellation. Mathematicians and astronomers endorsed his calculation. Graham Hancock makes the following quotes about Bauval’s calculation. "…the Giza monuments as a whole were so arranged as to provide a picture of the skies not as they had looked in Fourth Dynasty around 2500 B.C., but as they looked…around the year 10,450 B.C."
Using Bauval’s method, archaeology-astronomy and the computer model for stars for 2,500 B.C. and 10,500 B.C. shows why the Sphinx has the form of a lion’s body. He showed that the Sphinx facing east or the raising sun is clearly a marker for the spring equinox. Now Leo is the zodiac sign that conforms to a lion’s body. The sun rose in the constellation or house of Leo during the time of the spring equinox 10,500 B.C. This was also at the same time the Orion constellation lined up with the pyramids and other monuments had aligned with various other constellations.
Secondly, a geologist at Boston University, Professor Robert Schoch, verified that water eroded the Sphinx. Geologists know scientifically that wind/sand erosion on limestone differs from water erosion. Schoch states that the pattern of erosion on the limestone body of the Sphinx is consistent with water erosion. Many of his colleagues back his findings.
The erosion "…is entirely consistent with precipitation-induced weathering where you have water, rain water beating down from above (p. 422)." He also placed the age of the Sphinx between 5,000 - 7,000 B.C.
John West says for a majority of the 4500 year period that the Sphinx was built, it would have been buried in sand up to its neck. This means that it could not have suffered wind/sand erosion if it was buried most of the time. There is no other monument that has suffered this type of erosion during this same period. Thus, the weathering was due to thousands of years of heavy rainfall, before the existence of Egypt.
Now these two findings permanently altered mankind’s view of the Sphinx and advanced ancient civilizations. It is the first time hard evidence has verified ancient legends and myths concerning previous advanced civilizations.
Even if these new findings are proven wrong, the old Egyptologists’ model of the Sphinx has been permanently changed from its rigid model that refused to reexamine itself in face of new evidence…
Our intent was not only to give the reader a brief history of the Sphinx, but also to show how new information challenges old theories. It also shows how little modern man knows about the history of this blue marble called earth. The Sphinx’s purpose was both symbolic and religious in nature.
Clearly, if the old model cannot explain anomalies, such as the Sphinx, then it has to be reevaluated in light of new information for this is the scientific method. Traditional thoughts of Egyptologists and flimsy evidence should not prevent us from considering new information with a new model.
The works of Graham Hancock, John West, Robert Bauval and others have definitely challenged the orthodox model of human history with proof that shows that previous civilizations had advanced knowledge that we are not privileged to today. The Sphinx, the Pyramid, Stonehenge, the drawing in the Nazcan plains of Peru, and other ancient sites throughout the world shows this. Mankind was much more advanced than the cave man, who supposedly began the history of man…
Christian, P. Historie de la Magie (Paris, 1876)
Hancock, Graham Fingerprints of the Gods (© 1995 Crown Trade Paperbacks).
Hancock, Graham, Bauval, Robert The Message of the Sphinx
Hall, Manly P. The Secret Teachings of the Ages
Thoth, Max Pyramid Prophecies
(C) 1998 PLIM REPORT Vol. 7 No. 2
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Excerpted From The Power Latent in Man @ http://plim.org/sphinx.htm
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