It was now time for our first of many, very special, our-group-only, Ruth Shilling experiences.
two hours inside the
Great Sphinx enclosure!
The Great Sphinx is one of the world's largest and oldest statues, yet basic facts about it such as the real-life model for the face, when it was built, and by whom, are fully pontificated about, with all the different sides having some hidden agenda that has nothing to do with the debate (oh yes, just like everything...).
The Great Sphinx combines the head of a Pharaoh with the body of a lion, making it a powerful symbol of the divine kingship.
Carved out of the surrounding limestone bedrock, it is 185 feet long, 20 feet wide, and rises 65 ft above the enclosure floor, making it the largest single-stone statue in the world.
The Great Sphinx stands as a guardian of the Giza Plateau, where it faces the rising sun.
Here we are behind the tiny altar between the paws on the Great Sphinx and in front of the Dream Stele.
In the Dream Stele, Thutmosis IV recalls how, as a young prince, he falls asleep after a hunting party in the shadow of an ancient statue buried in the sands.
The solar god Harakhte, who by then was associated with the Sphinx, appears in the prince's dream and promises to give him kingship if young Thutmosis frees this statue from the sands. The prince obviously obeys the will of this god and as a reward becomes the next king.
In the 1950s, French scholar, mathematician, philosopher, mystic and Egyptologist R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz was the first to note water erosion to the Sphinx, an idea expanded upon by writer John Anthony West in the 1970s.
In the 1990s Robert M. Schoch of Boston University investigated the geology of the Sphinx at the urging of John Anthony West, and concluded based solely on the geological evidence that the Sphinx must be much older than currently believed.
“Initial carving of the core body of the Sphinx is estimated to have taken place during the period of approximately 7,000 to 5,000 BCE The Sphinx has subsequently been reworked and refurbished many times over the succeeding millennia — including, probably, during the reign of Khafre.”
—Robert Schoch, Geologist
Boston University, Boston, MA USA
Here is our entire, illustrious tour group, with Ehab and Ruth at each end.
Some of us opted to join Ruth in an enlightening, 45 minute guided meditation between the paws. It was grand!
We walked all around the structure, taking in the multiple anomalies and layers of fine limestone brickwork that covers most of the body of the Sphinx.
There is a significant difference in the size of the head of the Great Sphinx compared to its body. The current head looks like the result of a re-carving of the statue after the much larger original head was destroyed by rain and/or sand erosion.
Frank Domingo, Senior forensic expert of the New York Police Department, using his own detailed measurements taken of the Sphinx, determined through forensic drawings and computer analysis that the face of the Sphinx and the face seen on signed statues of Khafre could not be one and the same person.
Robert M. Schoch has also stated that the sphinx has a distinctive "African," or "Nubian," aspect which is lacking in the face of Khafre.
Here are some archival photos showing how the sphinx has “emerged” from the sands of time.