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Author Topic: THE SPHINX  (Read 5436 times)
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« Reply #120 on: September 11, 2008, 09:24:56 pm »

Oh dear! Poor Sphinx.

Work went ahead. Its paws and rear haunches were covered with nearly 2,000 limestone blocks held in place with cement (the suitability of which was later questioned). Meanwhile, its neck caused considerable concern because it seemed to be eroding more rapidly than the rest of the statue.

Culture Minister Farouk Hosni called on UNESCO to form a committee comprising 13 specialists in the fields of archaeology, reconstruction, restoration and geophysics, to discuss procedures needed to protect the Giza Plateau generally and the Sphinx's neck in particular. It was even thought a good idea to ask the British Museum to send the Sphinx's beard of the back to Egypt so that it might ensure more stability to the head. The British Museum was said to be willing, as long as Egypt covered the cost. So the matter ended there.

The committee members, meanwhile, agreed that the Sphinx was suffering from weathering and chemical saturation by carbonic, nitric and sulphuric acids "produced by chemical pollutants associated with neighbouring cement and other industrial facilities," as well as vibration caused by dynamiting in quarries in the vicinity, not to mention the rumbling of heavy tourist buses across the plateau. Additionally, there was seepage from the inadequate sewage system of the neighbouring Nezlet Al-Simman village.

When, in 1988, a sizable piece of bedrock toppled from the right shoulder of the Sphinx it caused much concern. A "Save the Sphinx" campaign was immediately launched with a large initial donation by American Express in Cairo, as well as the Getty Conservation Institute of California in collaboration with the EAO. A six-and- a-half-metre-high mini-observatory was set up on the statue's haunches to monitor the direction and changes in the speed of the wind, the humidity and pollutants in the atmosphere, the temperature and effects of water and salt on limestone.

Could it have monitored winged creatures?

Probably not.
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