Sphinx in black granite

Sphinx in black granite

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Stunning sphinx discovery: Workers make incredible find while fixing road

A new Sphinx was uncovered in Luxor, Egypt during upgrades being made to a road.

A mysterious sphinx has been discovered during roadwork in the Egyptian city of Luxor.

Mohamed Abdel Aziz, director general of Luxor Antiquities, announced the find Sunday, according to Egypt Today. The sphinx was found at the site of a road connecting Luxor Temple and the Temple of Karnak, two vast ancient temple complexes on the east side of the Nile.

Archaeologists are now working to carefully lift the mysterious statue, Egypt Today reports. Officials say that, because of its location, the statue cannot be directly extracted from the ground.

While the famous Great Sphinx of Giza on the outskirts of Cairo is the best known, there are a number of smaller sphinx statues in Luxor.

Ancient Egypt continues to reveal its secrets. Archaeologists recently opened a ‘cursed’ ancient black granite sarcophagus. In a separate project, experts also unearthed a 2,200-year-old gold coin depicting the ancient King Ptolemy III, an ancestor of the famed Cleopatra.

Experts in Southern Egypt recently discovered an extremely rare marble head depicting the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

Additionally, experts in Australia found the tattered remains of an ancient priestess in a 2,500-year-old Egyptian coffin that was long thought to be empty.

On the other side of the world, a rare ancient artifact depicting the famous female pharaoh Hatshepsut surfaced in the U.K. Stunning new research also claims that King Tutankhamun may have been a boy soldier, challenging the theory he was a weak and sickly youth before his mysterious death at around 18 years of age.

Experts in the U.K. also found the world’s oldest figurative tattoos on two ancient Egyptian mummies recently, one of which is the oldest tattooed female ever discovered.

Other recent finds include an ancient cemetery in Egypt with more than 40 mummies and a necklace containing a “message from the afterlife.” An ancient statue of a Nubian king with an inscription written in Egyptian hieroglyphics was also found at a Nile River temple in Sudan.

Scientists also believe that they may have found the secret of the Great Pyramid’s near-perfect alignment. Experts are also confident that they have solved the long-standing mystery of the “screaming mummy.”

In February, archaeologists announced the discovery of a 4,400-year-old tomb near the pyramids. Late last year, archaeologists also revealed that they had uncovered the graves of four children at an ancient site in Egypt.


I have just seen another article on this site that talks about the grinding stones that were used. The scallop textures are obvious grinding marks and here is an article showing a grinding wheel.

The Evidence is Cut in Stone: A Compelling Argument for Lost High Technology in Ancient Egypt

There is perhaps no-one on the planet the would not appreciate the great precision and dedication to the wonderful ancient structures. It appears the rough general shaping of the stones contain evidence of grinding on all surfaces and this would then free the stone from the source. The grinding stone appears quite small in diameter as indicated by the curve and distance between the remaining rock. The trickiest edge would be the bottom especially if the site is not terraced. This would then be followed by more precise shaping and tooling. I have not seen the suggested fire technique used, have you tried it ? I do use grinding and grozing most days in my work.

Great read, your theories could all be possible. I just wanted to simplify things a little. The repetative grinding marks seem similar to any form of grinding where here it appears as if a large grinding stone set vertically and spinning could easily have been constructed. Secondly the diorite balls are sitting ontop of a couple of larger stones, these are shaped like a large chisel especially the sharper right one. If you wish to break a stone or block or brick, once you have scored the line and created a break line these chisel shapped rocks could be pounded along the line with a simply constructed heavy hammering device.

The science of the ancients was so encompassing,
any one question throws up numerous more,
not only "How did they do it?", but why,
what was the scientific thinking long before the first stone was hew,
much less transported and set in place.
The Egyptian's "preferred granite source came from the Aswan area.",
some 500 miles south in Nubia.
The "casing stones of Giza pyramids" were made from granite,
"Other notable monuments that were quarried at Aswan include
the sarcophagus made from granite at the burial chambers of Djoser and Sneferu at Saqqara,
the Osirion at Abydos, and Cleopatra’s Needle"
"Obelisks all over Egypt" whose "function and purpose is still a mystery"
are all made from granite which "like most natural stones". Has, but
"granites have been reported to have higher radioactivity"
Not only is granite radioactive, it emits the chemical element Radon,
a noble gas which can be carcinogenic
"Radon is produced by the radioactive decay of radium-226,
which is found in uranium ores and
metamorphic rocks such as granite, and,
to a lesser degree, in common rocks such as limestone",
used in pyramid building,
at the same time it is used in modern medicine, in radiation therapy.
Could it be just chance that the Egyptian science,
built around astrology and "earth sciences",
uses the highly active stone known as the living rock ?


Taharqo was the last Nubian king who ruled over Egypt. He was defeated by the Assyrian kings Esarhaddon and Aššurbanipal. [3] His reign lasted from 690 when he succeeded Shebitqo to his death in 664 BCE. He was the son of Piye and Abar and the father to his daughter, Amenirdis II. [3] Taharqo was one of the rulers of Kush who dominated Egypt as the Twenty-fifth Dynasty. [4] He was a significantly important ruler, initiating a golden age for his new kingdom. Although Taharqo was not of Egyptian descent, he worshipped the Egyptian god Amun, built pyramids and temples in the Egyptian model, and had his officials write in Egyptian hieroglyphics. [2]

The statue is a sphinx, representing here the immense power of the Egyptian and Kushite pharaoh Taharqo, whose face is shown. The headdress bears two uraei, the Nubian symbol of kingship, and Taharqo's name appears in a cartouche on the sphinx's chest. The statue is called "a masterpiece of Kushite art." [5]

The statue was excavated at Temple T, in the area east of the south-eastern part of the Temple of Amun at Kawa (now Gematon), in Nubia (now Sudan), during excavations there by the Archaeological Mission of the University of Oxford during the 1930s. Construction of the stone temple was started in 683 BC by Taharqo.

The statue is a British Museum "Highlight" object [1] and was selected as the twenty-second object in the series A History of the World in 100 Objects selected by British Museum director Neil MacGregor and broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2010. [5] The sphinx is an image of a black pharaoh from sub-Saharan Africa, and its message was to point out that this black pharaoh stood in a long line of great Egyptian rulers. [ citation needed ]

Sphinx of Taharqo

If you were to ask which country the Nile river belongs to, most people would immediately say Egypt. But the Nile is a river that can be claimed by nine different African countries, and, as water resources get scarcer, the question of its ownership today is a burning political issue.

A critical fact of modern Egypt&rsquos life is that most of the Nile is actually in Sudan. Egypt has always been wary of its huge southern neighbour, but for most of its history it has been by far the stronger of the two. As this object shows, though, there was a moment, around 3,000 years ago, when for a century or so it all looked very different.

Sphinxes &ndash statues with a lion&rsquos body and a man&rsquos head &ndash are creatures of myth and legend, but they are also one of the great symbols of Egyptian royalty and power, the most famous of all, of course, being the Great Sphinx at Giza.

Compared with the one at Giza, this sphinx is very small &ndash about the size of a spaniel &ndash but it is particularly interesting, because it&rsquos not just a hybrid of a man and a lion but a fusion of Egypt and the kingdom of Kush, now northern Sudan. It&rsquos made out of sandy grey granite and it&rsquos beautifully preserved. The muscular lion&rsquos back, the mane of hair and the powerful outstretched paws are all classically Egyptian &ndash but it&rsquos not a typically Egyptian pharaoh&rsquos face, because this man is unquestionably a black African, and this sphinx is the image of a black pharaoh. Hieroglyphics on the sphinx&rsquos chest spell it out: this is a portrait of the great King Taharqo, the fourth pharaoh to rule over the combined kingdoms of Kush and Egypt.

I&rsquom referring to the world as it was around 700 BC. Even though populations were tiny &ndash only about 1 per cent of today&rsquos world population occupied the whole of the globe then &ndash large-scale conflicts were frequent and bitter. War was everywhere, and one of the features of the period was the conquest of long-established centres of wealth and civilization by poorer peoples living on the edge. In the case of Egypt, this occurred when the mighty land of the pharaohs was conquered and for a time ruled by its southern neighbour &ndash the kingdom of Kush.

For thousands of years Egypt had looked on its southern Kushite neighbour essentially as a rich but troublesome colony that could be exploited for its raw materials &ndash there was gold and ivory and, very importantly, slaves. In this almost colonial relationship, Egypt was very much the master. But in 728 BC the balance of power flipped. Egypt had become fragmented and weak, and the Kushite king, Piankhi, took the opportunity to send his armies north, where they picked off the cities of Egypt one by one, until finally the north was quashed, and the Kushites were in charge of an empire that ran roughly from modern Khartoum to modern Alexandria. In order to govern this new state, they created a new national identity, a hybrid that would combine both Egypt and Kush.

Taharqo, represented by the British Museum sphinx, was the most important of all the Kushite kings. He initiated a golden age for his immense new kingdom, and he succeeded largely because, rather than imposing Kushite customs on the Egyptians, he absorbed and adopted theirs. Even in Kush itself, Taharqo built pyramids on the Egyptian model, and he worshipped the Egyptian god Amun he restored temples in the Egyptian style, and his officials wrote in Egyptian hieroglyphics. It&rsquos a pattern that we see again and again in successful conquests: the conquerors use the existing symbols and vocabulary of power, because those are the ones that are already familiar to the population. It makes sense to keep using a language of control that everybody is accustomed to accepting. The Sphinx of Taharqo, in its calculated mixture of the two different traditions, is not just a striking portrait of the Kushite ruler as a traditional Egyptian pharaoh it&rsquos also a lesson in political method. And, for a short period, that method worked brilliantly.

This brief Sudanese conquest of Egypt has been a largely forgotten history. The official narrative of Egypt underplayed the Kushite disruption, blandly calling the reign of the Kushite kings the 25th Dynasty, thus quietly incorporating them into an unbroken story of an eternal Egypt but Kush&rsquos historical role is now being energetically reassessed, and Sudanese history in some measure rewritten.

In the British Museum we have a curator who has been central to this work of recovery and re-evaluation. Dr Derek Welsby, a leading expert on the archaeology of the Sudan, has been digging along the Nile for many years. He has done a lot of work at Kawa, north of Khartoum, where this sphinx came from. It was made to go into a temple there, which had been restored by Taharqo. Derek&rsquos description of the working conditions at his excavation gives an idea of what this land would have been like for the Kushites:

Often it&rsquos incredibly hot on site. Even in the middle of winter it can be very hot, but sometimes, early in the morning, it&rsquos very cold, 4 or 5 degrees centigrade. You&rsquove got a very strong wind to contend with. But by 11 o&rsquoclock it can be 35 or 40 degrees. It changes very dramatically.

The temple that Taharqo built at Kawa in the heart of Kush is purely Egyptian in design &ndash it was actually built by Egyptian workmen and architects sent by Taharqo from his capital at Memphis in Lower Egypt, but it was built in the heart of Kush. But the Egyptian influences are just a veneer over Kushite culture. The indigenous African culture continued right the way through the Kushite period.

It used to be considered that the Kushites were slavishly borrowing things from Egypt and just copying Egyptian models, but now we see that they are picking and choosing. They&rsquore choosing the things that are enhancing their view of the world, the status of their ruler, and so on, and they&rsquore retaining many of their local cultural elements as well. You see this particularly in their religion. Not only do you get the Egyptian gods like Amun, but you also get the major local Kushite gods such as Apedemake, sometimes being worshipped in the same temples.

As originally placed in the temple, Taharqo&rsquos sphinx would have been seen only by the ruler and his closest circle, which would have included priests and officials from both Egypt and Kush. Coming upon it in an inner sanctuary, Kushites would have been reassured by its black African features, while Egyptians would have immediately felt at home with its peculiarly Egyptian iconography.

Taharqo&rsquos sphinx is a more sophisticated piece of political imagery than just a mix of north and south it also combines the present with the long-distant past. The form of the lion&rsquos mane and his ears closely resemble elements found on ancient Egyptian sphinxes as far back as the 12th Dynasty, about a thousand years before this sphinx was made. The message is clear: this black pharaoh, Taharqo, stands in a long line of great Egyptian rulers, who have held dominion over all the lands of the Nile.

Taharqo was eager to expand Egypt beyond Sinai and its north-east border. This aggressive policy led to conflict with the Assyrian king, Sennacherib (whose stone reliefs were described in Chapter 21). Around 700 BC the Kushites allied themselves with Hezekiah, King of Judah, and fought alongside him.

But this challenge to the Assyrian war-machine ultimately led to Taharqo&rsquos downfall. Ten years later, the Assyrians came looking for him, seeking the colossal wealth of Egypt, and although he repelled them that time, they soon returned. In 671 BC they forced Taharqo to flee south to his native Kush. He lost his wife and his son to the enemy and, after more attacks from the Assyrians, he was finally expelled.

In the long history of Egypt, Kushite rule was a brief interlude of not even 150 years. Yet it reminds us that the border between what is now Egypt and Sudan is a constant faultline, both geographic and political, that has frequently divided the peoples of the Nile Valley and frequently been fought over. We&rsquoll see that faultline again later in this history (Chapters 35 and 94), because both the Roman and the British empires bloodily revisited this contested boundary between Egypt and Kush. Geography has determined that this will always be a frontier, because it&rsquos here that the first cataract breaks up the Nile into small, rocky channels that are very hard to navigate, making contact between north and south highly problematic. For Africans, the Nile has never been just an Egyptian river, and it&rsquos claimed as fiercely by the Sudanese now as it was in the time of Taharqo. The Sudanese-born political commentator Zeinab Badawi sees this as the cause of friction between two peoples who are really very similar:

I wouldn&rsquot say that there are any huge ideological differences between the Sudanese and the Egyptian governments, and there is a huge affinity between the people. The biggest source of friction and potential tension between Egypt and Sudan has been in the Nile, and how the waters of the Nile are used. The feeling that a lot of northern Sudanese might have is that the Nile runs much more through Sudan than it does through Egypt. Sudan is the biggest country in Africa. It&rsquos the tenth biggest in the world, the size of western Europe. It is the land of the Nile, and maybe there is a kind of brotherly resentment by the northern Sudanese that the Egyptians have in a sense claimed the Nile as their own, whereas the Sudanese in a sense feel they are the proper custodians of the Nile, because, after all, most of its journey is through the territory of Sudan.

This perhaps makes it clear why the union of Egypt and Sudan just under 3,000 years ago was easier to achieve in the sculpted form of Taharqo&rsquos sphinx than in the unstable world of practical politics. Recovering the story of Kush has been one of the great achievements of recent archaeology, showing how an energetic people on the edge of a great empire were able to conquer it and appropriate its traditions. A similar story was taking place somewhere else at almost exactly the same time &ndash in China, where our next object comes from.

The Sphinx

All three of Giza&rsquos pyramids had mortuary temples connecting to valley temples through a causeway. However, in the case of Khafre&rsquos pyramid, his valley temple also has an enigmatic monument nearby known as the Sphinx, with an uncompleted temple dedicated to it.

The Sphinx is a 241-foot (74 m) long monument carved out of the limestone bedrock of the Giza Plateau. It has the face of a man and the body of a lion. The mythical creature is seen in art throughout the ancient Middle East, as well as in India and Greece. The word "sphinx" is, in fact, a Greek word meaning "strangler," according to Tour Egypt. The face of the giant statue at Giza may have been based on that of Khafre. Efforts at conserving and restoring the Sphinx go back at least as far as 3,400 years.

Hidden Sphinx Unexpectedly Found in Temple Devoted to Crocodile God

In Ancient Egypt, sphinxes come in all shapes and sizes. And the exciting discovery in September 2018 of a new sphinx statue proves it. Believed to be some 2,000 years old, it is just 15 inches high with the body of a lion and the head of a human, wearing a snake crown and headdress.

The statue was found by accident in the Pharaonic temple of Kom Ombo, near Aswan, as researchers were draining groundwater from the site, Mostafa Waziri of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities announced via Facebook.

Photo by Egypt Ministry of Antiquities

The miniature sandstone sphinx has been hidden for centuries. Kom Ombo, which sits on the bank of the Nile in southern Egypt, was constructed between 305 B.C. and 30 B.C., during the Ptolemaic period. The temple where the sphinx was found is part of a rare dual design.

Temple Of Kom Ombo – Egypt

Discovering Egypt wrote: “The temple is unique because it is in fact a double temple, dedicated to Sobek the crocodile god, and Horus the falcon-headed god. The layout combines two temples in one with each side having its own gateways and chapels.”

Egypt, Upper Egypt, Nile Valley, Kom Ombo temple dedicated to the god Sobek the crocodile-headed

Sobek’s chief sanctuary was at Kom Ombo, where there were once a great number of crocodiles. “Until recent times the Egyptian Nile was infested with these ferocious animals, who would lay on the riverbank and devour animals and humans alike,” according to Discovering Egypt. “So it is not surprising that the local inhabitants went in fear.”

Some ancient Egyptian sects believed that Sobek was the creator of the world–that it rose from “Dark Water” and built order in the universe. Sobek brought fertility to the land. However, he was an unpredictable deity, too, that could ally himself with Chaos.

Sovk (Suchus, Cronos, Satrune), N372.2, Brooklyn Museum

Some 300 crocodile mummies that have been discovered near this temple are displayed in an adjacent Crocodile Museum.

The purpose of this particular sphinx is not known, but it could have served an important function. In ancient Egypt, sphinxes were associated with the pharaohs, and were seen as tomb guardians.

Mummified crocodiles. The Crocodile Museum, Aswan. Photo by JMCC1 -CC BY-SA 3.0

“This newly discovered sphinx is remarkably unweathered, showing a lifelike face with a piercing gaze,” according to Science Alert. It is possible that the sphinx was modeled after a real person of the time.

The sphinx of the temple is the latest noteworthy find in Egypt. The Great Sphinx by the pyramids of Giza is the largest and most famous one, of course. But another sphinx was recently discovered during roadwork in the city of Luxor, which is 112 miles north of Aswan.

The Great Pyramid of Giza.

Authorities said that the large statue, which has not been removed from the ground, was most likely carved for someone of the highest status. It could be more than 4,000 years old.

A discovery of another type was made in Alexandria last year. A huge black sarcophagus was found in an underground tomb in the city. The coffin was made of black granite and sealed with mortar. It measures 72.8 inches by 104.3 inches by 65 inches.

This picture released on July 1, 2018, by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities shows an ancient tomb dating back to the Ptolemaic period found in the Sidi Gaber district of Alexandria. – The tomb, which dimensions are a height of 185 cm, length 265 cm and width of 165 cm, contains a black granite sarcophagus considered to be the largest to be discovered in Alexandria (Photo credit -/AFP/Getty Images)

The tomb had not been opened for 2,000 years and worldwide media reported the suspense over the opening of the ancient coffin, even provoking speculation that it contained the remains of Alexander the Great.

However, when the lid was pried open, researchers found the remains of three mummies in a pool of leaked sewage water. The smell was so overpowering some of the workers became sick. One archaeologist at the site, Shaban Abdul, said that the remains probably belonged to three military officers.

“One of the mummies had a trace of an arrow in the head,” Abdul said in a later interview with CNN. “It proves he died in a conflict. Maybe that explains three mummies in one big sarcophagus.”

Other experts said it was unusual for a mummy or mummies to be buried without belongings. The only other item discovered at the site was an alabaster bust, its features destroyed.

Sphinx in black granite - History

Description: Scrapbook page containing a photograph of Egyptian sphinx statues, annotated with information about the statues. The page also includes three drawings of cartouches and information about the Hyksos dynasty.

Annotations: Mariette 1863.
Considered by him"comme des produits de l'art des pasteurs."
"These differ from other Egyptian monuments in a very marked way as one sees by comparing them with the Sphinx of Tutmes III and Ramses II. The face is round, the eyes are small, the nose flattened, the cheek bones projecting, the lower lip sliphtly advanced, the ears are those of a bull wehile the mane of a lion encircles the visage."On one of them one can descipher the name of the Shepherd Kind Apopi [Apepa]. Later Meneptah erased the name and substituted his cartouches. Still later Pasebxanu XXI dynasty put his name on the breast [place of honor] erasing that of the monarch for whom it was graven. This gives ground for a German theory that it antedates"les Pasteurs"and belongs to XII. Dynasty.

Dynasty B.C. 1400
XXI. Dynasty
Pasebxanu I.
B.C. 1100.

Language: English and French, photograph titled in French
Rights: No known restrictions.
Coverage: Egypt
Notes: Title supplied by cataloger, derived from captions or annotated information.
Format: Scrapbooks
Technique: Photographs, Albumen prints
BPL Department: Print Department

Photo 1:
Photographer: Sébah, J. Pascal
Title: 215 Sphinx Hycsos (Musée Ghizeh)
Caption: Hycsos Sphinx Excavation Tanis. Black Granite.
Date: ca. 1860-1890

Scientists: Geological evidence shows the Great Sphinx is 800,000 years old

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One of the most mysterious and enigmatic monuments on the surface of the planet is without a doubt the Great Sphinx at the Giza plateau in Egypt. It is an ancient construction that has baffled researchers ever since its discovery and until today, no one has been able to accurately date the Sphinx, since there are no written records or mentions in the past about it. Now, two Ukrainian researchers have proposed a new provocative theory where the two scientists propose that the Great Sphinx of Egypt is around 800,000 years old. A Revolutionary theory that is backed up by science.

The study was 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.

The authors of this paper are scientists Manichev Vjacheslav I. (Institute of Environmental Geochemistry of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine) and Alexander G. Parkhomenko (Institute of Geography of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine).

The starting point of these two experts is the paradigm shift initiated by West and Schoch, a ‘debate’ intended to overcome the orthodox view of Egyptology referring to the possible remote origins of the Egyptian civilization and, on the other, physical evidence of water erosion present at the monuments of the Giza Plateau.

According to Manichev and Parkhomenko:

“The problem of dating the Great Egyptian Sphinx construction is still valid, despite of the long-term history of its research. Geological approach in connection to other scientific-natural methods permits to answer the question about the relative age of the Sphinx. The conducted visual investigation of the Sphinx allowed the conclusion about the important role of water from large water bodies which partially flooded the monument with formation of wave-cut hollows on its vertical walls.”

“The morphology of these formations has an analogy with similar such hollows formed by the sea in the coastal zones. Genetic resemblance of the compared erosion forms and the geological structure and petrographic composition of sedimentary rock complexes lead to a conclusion that the decisive factor of destruction of the historic monument is the wave energy rather than sand abrasion in Eolian process. Voluminous geological literature confirms the fact of existence of long-living fresh-water lakes in various periods of the Quaternary from the Lower Pleistocene to the Holocene. These lakes were distributed in the territories adjacent to the Nile. The absolute mark of the upper large erosion hollow of the Sphinx corresponds to the level of water surface which took place in the Early Pleistocene. The Great Egyptian Sphinx had already stood on the Giza Plateau by that geological (historical) time.”

A strong argument was made by Ukrainian scientists in regards of the Sphinx, arguments based upon geological studies which support Schoch’s view regarding the Sphinx and its age. Manichev and Parkhomenko focus on the deteriorated aspect of the body of the Sphinx, leaving aside the erosive features where the Sphinx is located, which had been studied previously by Schoch. Ukrainian scholars focused on the undulating terrain of the Sphinx which displays the mysterious pattern.

Mainstream scientists offer explanations for this sharp feature and state that it is based on the abrasive effect of the wind and sand, the undulations were formed because the harder layers of rock are better at withstanding the erosions while the softer layers would have been more affected, forming voids.

However, as noted Manichev and Parkhomenko, this argument does not explain why the front of the head of the Sphinx lacks such features. In regards to the argument made by Schoch about the heavy rain period which occurred around 13,000 BC, the Ukrainian scientists recognized Schoch hypothesis partially suggesting that the erosive features of the Sphinx go further back than 13.000 BC. Manichev and Parkhomenko argue is that the mountainous and coastal areas of the Caucasus and Crimea, which they know well, have a type of wind erosion that differs morphologically to the erosive features noted on the Sphinx. Essentially, they argue that such wind erosion has a very soft effect, regardless of the geological composition of the rocks.

The western wall of the Sphinx enclosure, showing erosion consistently along its length.
Courtesy and copyright of Colin Reader.

“In our geological field expeditions in different mountains and littoral zones of the Crimea and Caucasus we could often observe the forms of Eolian weathering which morphology differs considerably from the weathering taking place on the GES. Most natural forms of weathering are of smoothed character, independent of lithological composition of the rocks.”

They continue further and explain:

“Our personal experience in scientific investigation of geology of the sea coasts gives reasons to draw an analogy with the GES and to suggest another mechanism of its destruction. Specialists-geologists, who work in the field of sea-coast geomorphology, know such forms of relief as wave-cut hollows (Morskaya Geomorfologiya, 1980). They can be one- and multi-storey. They are arranged horizontally to the sea water surface, if the coast makes a vertical wall (cliff). Especially deep wave-cut hollows are formed in precipitous cliffs built by the strata of carbonaceous rocks. Such forms of the coast relief are well-known and studied in detail on the Black-Sea coast of the Caucasus and Crimea (Popov, 1953 Zenkovich, 1960). General model of formation of the wave-cut hollows in the rocks of the Caucasian flysch is given by Popov (1953, 162 Fig. 3). In dynamics of the process of wave-cut hollows formation one can notice such a characteristic feature that the wave energy is directed to the rock stratum at the level of water surface. Besides, both saline and fresh water can dissolve the rocks.”

Manichev and Parkhomenko propose a new natural mechanism that may explain the undulations and mysterious features of the Sphinx. This mechanism is the impact of waves on the rocks of the coast. Basically, this could produce, in a period of thousands of years the formation of one or more layers of ripples, a fact that is clearly visible, for example, on the shores of the Black Sea. This process, which acts horizontally (that is, when the waves hit the rock up to the surface), will produce a wear or dissolution of the rock.

The fact is that the observation of these cavities in the Great Sphinx made the Ukranian scientists think that this great monument could have been affected by above said process in the context of immersion in large bodies of water, not the regular flooding of the Nile.

Manichev and Parkhomenko suggest that the geological composition of the body of the Sphinx is a sequence of layers composed of limestone with small interlayers of clays. Manichev and Parkhomenko explain that these rocks possess different degree of resistance to the water effect and say that if the hollows formation were due to sand abrasion only, the hollows had to correspond to the strata of a certain lithological composition. They suggest that the Great Sphinx hollows are formed in fact within several strata, or occupy some part of the stratum of homogeneous composition.

The Back of the Great Sphinx of Egypt

Manichev and Parkhomenko firmly believe that the Sphinx had to be submerged for a long time under water and, to support this hypothesis, they point towards existing literature of geological studies of the Giza Plateau. According to these studies at the end of the Pliocene geologic period (between 5.2 and 1.6 million years ago), sea water entered the Nile valley and gradually creating flooding in the area. This led to formation of lacustrine deposits which are at the mark of 180 m above the present level of the Mediterranean Sea.

According to Manichev and Parkhomenko, it is the sea level during the Calabrian phase which is the closest to the present mark with the highest GES hollow at its level. High level of sea water also caused the Nile overflowing and created long-living water-bodies. As to time it corresponds to 800000 years.

What we have here is evidence which contradicts the conventional theory of deterioration caused by Sand and Water, a theory already criticized by West and Schoch, who recalled that during many centuries, the body of the Sphinx was buried by the sands of the desert, so Wind and Sand erosion would not have done any damage to the enigmatic Sphinx.

However, where Schoch clearly saw the action of streams of water caused by continuous rains, Ukrainian geologists see the effect of erosion caused by the direct contact of the waters of the lakes formed in the Pleistocene on the body Sphinx. This means that the Great Sphinx of Egypt is one of the oldest monuments on the surface of the Earth, pushing back drastically the origin of mankind and civilization.

Some might say that the theory proposed by Manichev and Parkhomenko is very extreme because it places the Great Sphinx in an era where there were no humans, according to currently accepted evolutionary patterns. Furthermore, as it has been demonstrated, the two megalithic temples, located adjacent to the Great Sphinx were built by the same stone which means that the new dating of the Sphinx drags these monuments with the Sphinx back 800,000 years. In other words, this means that ancient civilizations inhabited our planet much longer than mainstream scientists are willing to accept.

Sphinx in black granite - History


Organized by National Geographic and Arts and Exhibitions International (AEI), with help from the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities and the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology (IEASM), the exhibition features about 150 artifacts from Cleopatra&rsquos time including statuary, jewelry, daily items, coins and religious tokens that archaeologists have uncovered. Also on display is an original papyrus document that scientists believe was written in Cleopatra&rsquos own hand.

Cleopatra, the last great Pharaoh before Egypt succumbed to Roman opposition, lived from 69&ndash30 B.C. (Ptolemaic period), with a reign marked by political intrigue and challenges to her throne. She captivated two of the most powerful men of her day, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, as she attempted to restore Egypt to its former superpower status.

After Egypt succumbed to Roman forces and Cleopatra famously took her own life following the suicide of her lover Mark Antony, the Romans attempted to wipe her legacy from the pages of history. Cleopatra thus has remained one of history&rsquos greatest enigmas, and her final resting place is one of Egypt&rsquos unsolved mysteries.

Presently there are two ongoing expeditions in the search for Cleopatra – one on land and one under the sea. On land in Egypt, Dr. Zahi Hawass, Egypt&rsquos pre-eminent archaeologist and secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, along with a team of archaeologists, are searching for the tomb of the ill-fated lovers Cleopatra and Mark Antony. Never-before-seen artifacts referencing Cleopatra, excavated by Hawass&rsquo team at the temple of Taposiris Magna, about 30 miles west of Alexandria, are featured in the exhibition at The Franklin Institute.

Off the Mediterranean coast of Egypt, the search by Franck Goddio, French underwater archaeologist and director of IEASM, has resulted in one of the most ambitious underwater expeditions ever undertaken. With financial support from the Hilti Foundation, Goddio and his team have uncovered Cleopatra&rsquos royal palace and the two ancient cities of Canopus and Heracleion, which had been lost beneath the sea after a series of earthquakes and tidal waves nearly 2,000 years ago. The exhibition at The Franklin Institute features remnants from the grand palace where Cleopatra ruled along with underwater footage and photos of Goddio&rsquos team retrieving artifacts from the ocean and bringing them to the surface for the first time in centuries.


MYTH: There was only one Cleopatra.
FACT: The Cleopatra we are familiar with is Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator. There are at least seven other known &ldquoCleopatras&rdquo who lived during the Ptolemaic dynasty in which Cleopatra VII ruled, including her daughter, Cleopatra Selene II.

MYTH: Cleopatra was an Egyptian.
FACT: Cleopatra was of Greek descent. She was born during winter 69-68 BC, probably in Alexandria. She belonged to the Lagides dynasty, a dynasty of Macedonian (North Greece) origin, who ruled Egypt since the end of the IV century BC. The founder of her dynasty, Ptolemy I, served as a general to Alexander the Great and became ruler of Egypt after Alexander&rsquos death. The Ptolemies then established Alexandria, Egypt as the center of culture and commerce in the ancient world. This is where Cleopatra VII later ruled and lived in the royal palace.

MYTH: Cleopatra was a seductress.
FACT: Popular culture portrays Cleopatra as a temptress, seducing Julius Caesar and becoming his mistress, then later luring Mark Antony. However, Cleopatra had her children and her country&rsquos best interest in mind. At that time, Rome was the greatest superpower of the Mediterranean. Called the Imperator, Julius Caesar was a victorious commander and a very influential leader. Rome and Egypt had an uneasy alliance. Rome needed Egypt&rsquos wheat. Egypt needed Rome&rsquos protection. To secure power, Cleopatra navigated an alliance through her union with Caesar. After Caesar&rsquos death, Cleopatra entered into an alliance with Mark Antony, one of the three rulers of Rome. Later, when he was involved in a power struggle with Caesar&rsquos nephew Octavian, Antony and Cleopatra joined forces to attempt to control both Rome and Egypt.

MYTH: Cleopatra took her own life because she was heartbroken by her lover&rsquos death.
FACT: Egypt fell to the Romans after a crushing defeat of Cleopatra&rsquos navy by Octavian&rsquos Roman forces. Mark Antony committed suicide shortly thereafter. It was rumored that Cleopatra would be captured by Octavian and paraded through the streets of Rome in shackles as a war prisoner by Octavian. Nearly two weeks after Mark Antony took his own life, she followed suit, likely in part to prevent the shame of public humiliation.

MYTH: Cleopatra died from the bite of a poisonous snake.
FACT: While legend says that she died from the bite of an asp, a poisonous snake, we still today are not sure what killed Cleopatra. The snake bite may have been an invention of the Romans in an attempt to defame her memory and connect her to something with vile and evil connotations. Cleopatra was very knowledgeable about poisons, writing books on the subject. Other theories suggest that she may have ingested a poisonous fig or applied a toxic substance to her skin.

Source: Information based on National Geographic Channel&rsquos Egypt Unwrapped: Cleopatra, which first aired on December 28, 2008.

About the Undersea Expedition

Below Left: A diver is eye-to-eye with a sphinx made out of black granite. The face of the sphinx is believed to represent Ptolemy XII, father of the famous Cleopatra VII. The sphinx was found during excavations in the ancient harbor of Alexandria. Below Right: A diver of Goddio's team is illuminating hieroglyphic inscriptions of a door jamb's fragment, discovered in Alexandria's ancient Great Harbor and dating from the 26th dynasty (Apries, 6th century BC).

© Franck Goddio / Hilti Foundation, Photos: Jerome Delafosse

About The Franklin Institute

Located in the heart of Philadelphia, The Franklin Institute is a renowned and innovative leader in the field of science and technology learning. As Pennsylvania&rsquos most visited museum, it is dedicated to creating a passion for learning about science by offering access to hands-on science education. Below Left: Students come face-to-face with the Sphinx of Ptolemy XII, the father of Cleopatra. Below Right: Many Egyptian statuettes have been found bearing the likenesses of revered gods. Photos © Lisa Godfrey / The Franklin Institute

Images and text were provided to The History Place by The Franklin Institute, Phildelphia, PA. This webpage is provided as a promotional—publice servce announcement by The History Place to encourage students to visit the exhibit and learn more about archeology and Ancient Egypt.

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