In common with many famous constructions of remote antiquity, the Great Sphinx has over the years been the subject of numerous speculative theories and assertions by non-specialists, mystics, pseudohistorians, pseudoarchaeologists and general writers. These alternative theories of the origin, purpose and history of the monument typically invoke a wide array of sources and associations, such as neighboring cultures, astrology, lost continents and civilizations (e.g. Atlantis), numerology, mythology and other esoteric subjects. Egyptologists and the wider scientific community largely ignore such claims; however, on occasion they are drawn into public debate when a claim purports to rely upon some novel or re-interpreted data from an academic field of study.Water erosion
French scholar and mathematician R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz in the 1950s 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. Schoch has argued that the particular weathering found on the body of the Sphinx and surrounding “ditch” or “hollow” the monument was carved from, displays evidence that can only be caused from prolonged water erosion. Egypt’s last time period where there was a significant amount of rainfall ended during the late 4th to early 3rd millennium BC. Schoch claims the amount of water erosion the Sphinx has experienced indicates a construction date no later than the 6th millennium BC or 5th millennium BC, at least two thousand years before the widely accepted construction date and 1500 years prior to the accepted date for the beginning of Egyptian civilization.
English geologist and secretary of The Manchester Ancient Egypt Society Colin Reader who has studied the weathering patterns as well, agrees the weathering occurred from heavy water erosion, but concludes that the Sphinx is only several hundred years older than the traditionally accepted date believing the Sphinx to be a product of the Early Dynastic period. Independently, geologist David Coxill has also come forward to confirm in principle Schoch’s findings, but like Reader has taken a more conservative approach to the dating of the Sphinx, yet concludes: “Nevertheless, it (the Sphinx) is clearly older than the traditional date for the origins of the Sphinx-in the reign of Khafre, 2520-2490 B.C.” Both Schoch and Reader base their conclusions not only on the Sphinx and surrounding enclosure, but have also taken into account other congruent weathering features found on the Giza plateau from monuments such as the Sphinx Temple which are known to be consistent with the time period the Sphinx was constructed.
This theory has not been accepted by mainstream Egyptologists. Alternative theories offered by Egytologists for the erosion include wind and sand, acid rain, exfoliation or the poor quality of the limestone used to construct the Sphinx. Schoch, Reader, and Coxill have independently argued, regardless of when the Sphinx was actually built, that none of these explanations can account for what they consider as geologists to be “classic” water erosion patterns.
Schoch has also noted as have others that the clearly evident disproportionately small size of the head compared to the body suggests the head to have been originally that of a lion, but later re-carved to give the likeness of a pharaoh. This implies that the Egyptian Kings were the inheritors of an already existing structure of which they re-made in their own image to give provenance over the monument.Han**** and Bauval
One well-publicised debate was generated by the works of two writers, Graham Han**** and Robert Bauval, in a series of separate and collaborative publications from the late 1980s onwards. Their claims include that the construction of the Great Sphinx and the monument at Tiwanaku in modern Bolivia was begun in 10,500 BC; that the Sphinx's lion-shape is a definitive reference to the constellation of Leo; and that the layout and orientation of the Sphinx, the Giza pyramid complex and the Nile River is an accurate reflection or “map” of the constellations of Leo, Orion (specifically, Orion’s Belt) and the Milky Way, respectively.
Their initial claims regarding the alignment of the Giza pyramids with Orion (“…the three pyramids were an unbelievably precise terrestrial map of the three stars of Orion’s belt”— Han****’s Fingerprints of the Gods, 1995, p.375) are later joined with speculation about the age of the Sphinx (Han**** and Bauval, Keeper of Genesis, published 1997 in the U.S. as The Message of the Sphinx). By 1998’s The Mars Mystery, they contend:
…we have demonstrated with a substantial body of evidence that the pattern of stars that is “frozen” on the ground at Giza in the form of the three pyramids and the Sphinx represents the disposition of the constellations of Orion and Leo as they looked at the moment of sunrise on the spring equinox during the astronomical “Age of Leo” (i.e., the epoch in which the Sun was “housed” by Leo on the spring equinox.) Like all precessional ages this was a 2,160-year period. It is generally calculated to have fallen between the Gregorian calendar dates of 10,970 and 8810 BC. (op. cit., p.189)
A date of 10,500 B.C. is chosen because they maintain this is the only time in the precession of the equinoxes when the astrological age was Leo and when that constellation rose directly east of the Sphinx at the vernal equinox. They also suggest that in this epoch the angles between the three stars of Orion’s Belt and the horizon was an “exact match” to the angles between the three main Giza pyramids. This time period coincidentally also coincides with the American psychic Edgar Cayce’s “dating” of Atlantis. These and other theories are used to support the overall belief in an advanced and ancient, but now vanished, global progenitor civilization.
Their theories, and the astronomical and archaeological data upon which they are based, have received refutations by some mainstream scholars who have examined them, notably the astronomers Ed Krupp and Anthony Fairall. The refuting evidence includes noting that the correspondence of the angles between the pyramids and the angles in Orion’s Belt at that epoch is not in fact precise or even very close, that the “Age of Leo” (period when the Sun’s path appears in this constellation at the equinoxes) in fact starts 1500 years later than this, that the Zodiac of western astrology is known to have originated in Mesopotamia and not pre-ancient Egypt, and that if the Sphinx is meant to represent Leo, then it should be on the other side of the Nile (the “Milky Way”) from the pyramids (“Orion”). Han****, Bauval, and others have offered counter-arguments to Krupp’s points and maintain their positions, continuing to publish books based on their theories. The majority of the scientific community regards these ideas as pseudoscience.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Sphinx_of_Giza