The True Age of the Sphinx?

Some of you may have watched this recent Smithsonian production on the the true age of the Sphinx:

http://www.smithsonianchannel.com/videos/the-pharaoh-who-found-the-sphinx/21494

In this documentary, five theories are presented:

  1. The Sphinx is much much older (~10,000 B.C.) than the Giza Pyramids and started out as a giant stone lion and was later "defaced" by one of the kings of Egypt....likely Khufu or Khafreh who carved their own likeness into out of the lion's face. In this documentary, this theory is represented by Colin Reader from the Manchester Ancient Egypt Society. This theory is supported by other sphinx statues which have a lion-like head into which a human face is carved, the dis-proportionally small head compared to the body and the weathering pattern on the Sphinx and its enclosure which suggests that it must have been built at a time of ample rainfall in Egypt....before Egypt's climate changed and she became a desert.  This theory, however, was originally proposed by John Anthony West and Robert Schoch and further astronomically corroborated by Robert Bauval.  None of these three researchers are mentioned in this documentary even though they are the one's who really opened up this discussion many years ago from was considered a shut case by traditional Egyptology.
  2. The Spinx was built by Khufu (Cheops), the builder of the Great Pyramid in ~2550 B.C.  In this documentary, this theory is represented by Dr Melinda Hartwig (Georgia State University), who I recently met at Bowker Museum in Santa Ana. Her evidence is the resemblance of the Sphinx' face with that of Khufu, the deviation in the causeway of Khafreh's pyramid, and the perspective view one would have had from Memphis.
  3. The Spinx was built by Djedefreh, Khufu's oldest son in ~2525 B.C.  The evidence is the dedication with which Djedefreh honored his father, for example, by building a burial for Khufu's boat at the foot of the Great Pyramid.  In the documentary, this theory is presented by Dr Salima Ikram from the American University of Cairo.
  4. The Sphinx was built by Khafreh, who built the second pyramid at Giza around ~2500 B.C.  This theory is represented by Dr.Peter Lacovara from the Carlos Museum at Emory University.  He presents two main pieces of evidence: The similarity of the horizontal weathering pattern of the Sphinx and its enclosure with the stone blocks used to build the Sphinx temple and the drainage channel from the causeway of Khafreh's Pyramid.
  5. The Spinx was built by Thutmose IV, who placed the "Dream Stele between its front paws ~1400 B.C. The evidence presented is the enclosure wall and the Sphinx cult which reemerged during the New Kingdom.  This later theory is quickly dismissed though.

The documentary concludes that Khafreh built the Sphinx and with it seems to have instigated a religious revolution emphasizing the sun god Re. When the sun rises and sets during the equinoctes, the rays run straight from the edge of G2 through the Sphinx and the temple which housed 12 giant statues of Khafreh representing a sun clock and calendar.

I watched this three times, and the presentation of the key piece of evidence offered by Peter Lacovara used to declare the winner among these five theories amounts to a few seconds of video...I am still confused about what he is saying. It sounds like he thinks it's a slam dunk case, but he brushes right over the vertical erosion pattern.  How does he explain what J.A.W. and R.S. discovered?  A good scientific theory must account for all observations, not just a subset.  Chime in anyone?

PS: the documentary is available on Netflix.

 

Comments are closed.