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Author Topic: THE SPHINX  (Read 7414 times)
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« Reply #75 on: October 10, 2007, 07:45:56 am »

In order to determine accurately when the western end of the Great Sphinx was freed from the bedrock, and to establish a chronology of the possible widening of the passage between the rear portion of the sculpture and the west wall of the surrounding enclosure, more detailed work (including the collection of several more seismic profiles parallel to seismic line S3) will be necessary. However, it is already clear that the limestone floor behind the rump of the figure-which we sampled seismically in April 1991-was exposed later (i.e., possibly in Khafre's time) than the east, north and south limestone floors of the enclosure. Once the sides of the body and eastern end of the Sphinx were carved, the limestone floors surrounding these three sides of the sculpture began to weather; but what was to become the limestone floor behind the figure was still protected by a thick layer of solid rock.


          A reasonable hypothesis is that when Khafre repaired and refurbished the Great Sphinx and its associated temples in ca. 2500 B.C., he had the back (western end) of the colossal sculpture carved out and freed from the cliff (or enclosure wall). It is difficult to argue that the rump of the figure was carved any later than Khafre's time; the base of the rump has, like the rest of the core body of the Sphinx, been weathered and repaired with limestone blocks. Furthermore, one must account for the non-trivial four feet (1.2 meters) of subsurface weathering detected in the area behind the carved figure, between the rump and the enclosure wall. If, for instance, one hypothesized that the rump of the Sphinx had been freed during New Kingdom restoration efforts to the sculpture, how could we account for this deep subsurface weathering, given the prevailing and conditions on the Giza Plateau from New Kingdom times to the present and the historical fact that the Sphinx enclosure has been filled with desert sands for much of the period since the New Kingdom?
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