Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Sands of Time

The Great Sphinx measures 241 feet long, 20 feet wide, and over 66 feet high. The Great Sphinx is one of the world's largest and oldest statues. Would you believe that it was completely forgotten more than once in the 4.5 thousand years it has been crouching on the Giza plateau? It truly has been forgotten over and over again.

Archaeological evidence points to the Great Sphinx being built as a part of King Khafra's funerary complex along with the second pyramid, built in 2500 B.C., on the Giza Plateau. It seems to be related to a sun worship cult and has a roofless temple, standing in front of the Sphinx, made of 200 ton blocks of limestone cut from around the Sphinx, with Steele that mark the hours of the day and niches that mark the change of seasons. The Great Sphinx and the side of the second pyramid also line up with the sun in the spring and fall.

In the 1390's B.C. King Thutmose IV excavated the buried and neglected Sphinx, after resting in the shade by the mostly buried statue. While napping the then prince dreamed that the Sphinx would make him king if he caused the encroaching sand dunes to be carted away.

Ramesses II the Great also removed sand dunes to reveal the almost buried Great Sphinx in the late 1200's B.C.

No mention is made of the Great Sphinx by Greek travel writer Herodotus, who visited Egypt just after 454 B.C., presumably because the large sculpture was completely buried in sand and unknown by his Egyptian guides.

In 1817, explorer Giovanni Battista Caviglia again cleared away sand dunes that had mostly covered the large sculpture.

 The Great Sphinx has been lost and found many times, it is a link to an unimaginably distant past. However, it was probably built to mark the coming of Spring and Fall, something we still mark today.

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