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Author Topic: THE SPHINX  (Read 5162 times)
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« on: September 22, 2007, 01:30:46 pm »

Regardless of the translation, the stela offers no clear record of in what context the name Khafra was used in relation to the Sphinx – as the builder, restorer, or otherwise. The lines of text referring to Khafra flaked off and were destroyed when the Stela was re-excavated in the early 1900s.

In contrast, the “Inventory Stela” (believed to date from the 26th dynasty 664-525 BC) found by Auguste Mariette on the Giza plateau in 1857, describes how Khufu (the father of Khafra, the alleged builder) discovered the damaged monument buried in sand, and attempted to excavate and repair the dilapidated Sphinx. Because of the late dynasty origin of the document and reference to Khufu as the builder and not the accepted Khafra, this particular section of the Inventory Stela is often dismissed by Egyptologists as late dynasty historical revisionism  despite other sections relating to Khufu being used by Egytologists as plausible historical reference.

Traditionally, the evidence for dating the Great Sphinx by Egyptologists has been based primarily on fragmented summaries of early Christian writings gleaned from the work of the Hellenistic Period Egyptian priest Manethô, who compiled the now lost revisionist Egyptian history Aegyptika. These works, and to a lesser degree, earlier Egyptian sources, mainly the “Turin Canon” and “Table of Abydos” among others, combine to form the main body of historical reference for Egyptologists, giving a consensus for a timeline of rulers known as the “King’s List,” found in the reference archive; the Cambridge Ancient History.  As a result, since Egyptologists have ascribed the Sphinx to Khafra, establishing the time he reigned would date the monument as well.

In 2004, French Egyptologist Vassil Dobrev announced the results of a 20-year reexamination of historical records, and uncovering of new evidence that suggests the Great Sphinx may have been the work of the little known Pharaoh Djedefre, Khafra’s half brother and a son of Khufu, the builder of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Dobrev suggests it was built by Djedefre in the image of his father Khufu, identifying him with the sun god Ra in order to restore respect for their dynasty.

Former director of the German Institute of Archaeology in Cairo, Rainer Stadelmann, suggests it was Khufu, and not his son Khafra, who was responsible for constructing the monument. Stadelmann bases his ideas on the distinct iconography of the headdress and missing collapsed beard (the remains are housed in the Cairo museum), which he argues is more indicative of the style of Khufu than Khafra.

 He supports this by suggesting that Khafra’s causeway was built to conform to a pre-existing structure, which he concludes, given its location, could only have been the Sphinx.
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