Skip to main content

Sphinx Passages

There are several holes and passages in the Great Sphinx at Giza. Some are of known origin but others are not.
There is a hole on the back of the Sphinx, about 4 feet behind the head. It was made by Howard Vyse in the 1840s and has been dubbed Perring's Hole after his engineer. Seeking chambers, Vyse bored a hole 27 feet deep but the drill rod became stuck. He tried using gunpowder to remove the rod, but gave up so as not to do further damage to the Sphinx. The cavity Vyse created was cleared in 1978 by Zahi Hawass, and inside it he found a part of the Sphinx's headdress.
Later, in the 1850s, August Mariette cleared out a shaft on the Sphinx's back, which he realized was nothing more than a widening in a natural fissure. (He also found the peculiar masonry "boxes" against the body of the monument).
In 1923, Department of Antiquities director Lacau and engineer Emile Baraize began an 11 year excavation of the Sphinx area. In December 1925 a photograph was made by the team showing the area of the large masonry box on the south side of the Sphinx. Loose stones can be seen, stones cut for repairs, but in the side of the Sphinx body a large gaping entrance, or perhaps grotto is visible. It was covered up in the restoration. Further conservation included lining the largest fissure on the Sphinx's back (some 6 feet wide) with limestone blocks and covering the resulting shaft with an iron trap door.
Baraize also paved with cement a deep hole on the top of the Sphinx's head. The hole measures approximately 5 feet square and nearly 6 feet deep. An iron trap door was fitted to the mouth of the hole. It has been theorized that the hole, began as a means for affixing a headdress to the sphinx in the manner of the New Kingdom (see photo below), was later deepened in search of hidden chambers.
Tutankhamun's calcite sphinx, Luxor Museum.
Sphinx with headdress
In 1980, Zahi Hawass uncovered a passage beneath the casing stones leading under the Sphinx (see photo below). He was informed of the passage by two elderly workers who had worked with Baraize (the tunnel had not been documented and had nearly been forgotten). The passage is on the north side near the tail and has two parts at right angles to each other. One descends for 13 feet, terminating in a dead end. The upper part runs for about the same length and ends at a small niche (about 3 feet wide and 6 feet high). Items found among the limestone chips and sand included bits of charcoal, small ceramic particles and other pottery shards, an alabaster chip, a granite chip, part of a modern water jug, a piece of tin foil, another fragment of red granite, and two old but modern leather shoes. It is possible that the passage was made by Vyse, who had mentioned in his journal that he had bored "near the shoulder, and near the tail," without providing further details.
Passage at rear of Sphinx
(bottom left of center).

Sphinx passage entrance
There is an iron trap door fitted to the ground within the Sphinx's paws, between the Thutmose IV Stela and the chest of the Sphinx. This is not a passage but rather a somewhat rectangular pit that was covered with a cement roof and iron beam then sealed with a trap door by Baraize as a part of his restoration efforts in the 1920s.
There is another shaft in the Sphinx enclosure but not connected with the Sphinx itself. The so-called Keystone Shaft is in the floor of the enclosure under the north ledge of the wall, just opposite the north hind paw. The passage measures about 4.5 feet by 3.5 feet and is just over 6 feet deep. A large piece of basalt, with one side finished smooth, was found inside the shaft. It is likely that the passage was meant to be a tomb but was never completed.


Popular posts from this blog

How ancient Egyptians Were cutting the Obelisk from the Granite quarry?

Today, quarrymen cut and carve granite using saws with diamond-edged blades and steel chisels.

But ancient Egyptian quarrymen and stonemasons didn't have these modern tools. How, then, did they quarry and cut such clean lines in their obelisks and other monumental statuary?
To find out how ancient Egyptians quarried huge pieces of granite for their obelisks, i traveled to an ancient quarry in Aswan, located 500 miles south of Cairo. This is where the ancient Egyptians found many of the huge granite stones they used for their monuments and statues.

One of the most famous stones left behind is the Unfinished Obelisk, more than twice the size of any known obelisk ever raised. Quarrymen apparently abandoned the obelisk when fractures appeared in its sides. However, the stone, still attached to bedrock, gives important clues to how the ancients quarried granite.

Archeologist Mark Lehner, a key member of nova expedition, crouches in a granite trench that abuts one side of…

Hesi-re, the first Dentist, in ancient Egypt and in the world

Hesire was a high official who lived during the reign of Netjerikhet (Dosjer) 2686 BC to 2613 BC . His tutelary informs us of the many offices he had held during his life. Thus he was the 'overseer of the royal scribes', at the head of the royal administration of Djoser. His most spectacular title, however, was that of the 'greatest (or chief ?)of physicians and dentists'. It is not entirely clear whether this title infers that Hesire himself was honored as the greatest of physicians and dentists, or rather that he was merely responsible for the administration of physicians and dentists. But whatever the case, the distinction between 'physicians' and 'dentists' in his tutelary does show a high degree of medical specialization at this early stage of the history of Ancient Egypt..

Das Tal der Koenige

Die geographische Lage
Das Gebiet bei Theben lieferte ein vorzügliches Gebiet für das Anlegen einer königlichen Nekropole. Vom Westufer des Nils erstreckt sich eine flache Ebene zu einer Bergkette mit zahlreichen abgeschiedenen Tälern, die sich zwischen hohen Klippen und weichem Gestein durchschlängeln. Die Ebene eignete sich ideal für das Errichten der königlichen Totentempel. Die Täler hingegen boten genügend Platz, um viele kunstvoll in den Fels gehauene Gräber anzulegen. Auch aus symbolischen Gründen wählten die Alten Ägypter diesen Platz für das Errichten einer Nekropole. Blickt man von der Stadt Theben über den Nil auf das thebanische Bergmassiv, dann ähnelt es in der Gestalt einer riesigen Version der Hieroglyphe für "Horizont". Es ist das ägyptische Symbol für das Gebiet der auf- und untergehenden Sonne. Im Neuen…