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Showing posts from May 25, 2012

The Hieroglyphic Inscription Above the Great Pyramid's Entrance

Though it is often reported that the Great Pyramid of Giza is bereft of any hieroglyphic inscription save for some quarry marks on inside surfaces, and also that the last hieroglyphics in Egypt were inscribed at Philae in AD 394, both of these statements were made somewhat inaccurate in the middle of the 19th century.
Karl Richard Lepsius, born in 1810 in Naumburg (Saale), Germany, began studying Egyptology after completing his European archaeology doctorate in 1833. He studied in Paris, using Champollion's newly published grammar. By 1837 he had a good working knowledge of the ancient Egyptian language. During the years 1842-1845, Lepsius led an expedition of Prussian scholars to Egypt, Nubia, and Sinai to record monuments and collect antiquities. Architects and draftsmen described and sketched tombs, temples, and other monuments in the Nile Valley and, with the cooperation of Muhammed Ali, about 15,000 artifacts were taken to Berlin. The resulting work, the twelve…

The Great Sphinx continues to offer its riddles. Some say that the Sphinx is a lot older than Egyptologists generally believe

The Great Sphinx on the Giza Plateau was not built, but rather carved from the limestone bedrock. Conventional techniques of dating the Sphinx have included analysis of its stylistic features, the stratigraphy of artifacts excavated, and the record of extant historical documentation.
In my opinion, the most compelling evidence that the Sphinx dates to the time of Khafre is found in the layout of the Sphinx enclosure (see diagram below). If we assume that the Sphinx was carved in Pre-Dynastic times, then we might well wonder why the southern wall of the enclosure was carved at an angle. Why wasn't it squared with the axis of the Sphinx as were the other walls? Further, if it is assumed that the southern wall was capriciously carved at the angle we find it, then isn't it a bit too much to expect that thousands of years later, after the construction of tombs and pyramids on the surrounding necropolis, Khafre was able to build his pyramid and his valley temple, and…

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 photograp…

The Masonry Boxes of the Great Sphinx

One aspect of the Great Sphinx at Giza that has somehow been overlooked by "fringe" authors is the presence of four odd masonry boxes that are situated against the body of the Sphinx at floor level, two on the north side and two on the south.
Masonry "boxes" (in red).

August Mariette uncovered the boxes while clearing the sand around the Sphinx in the 1850s. At that time, there were five boxes, but one on the north side has since disappeared. The arrangement of the boxes is asymmetrical and seems to make little sense. What was their purpose?
Mariette first thought they served as buttresses to support the slope of the masonry on the body of the Sphinx. But he changed his mind when he found pieces of a colossal statue of Osiris that was, he wrote, composed of separate blocks. A travel writer in 1856 counted the blocks: there were 28 (Laorty-Hadji, L'Egypte, p. 382). The fragments included a badly worn face and a white crown made of limestone.
Limestone …

Is There a Chamber Beneath the Sphinx?

The idea that there is a chamber beneath the Great Sphinx at Giza likely has its roots in antiquity. In his Natural History, Pliny wrote:
In front of them [i.e. The Giza Pyramids] is the Sphinx, which deserves to be described even more than they, and yet the Egyptians have passed it over in silence. The inhabitants of the region regard it as a deity. They are of the opinion that a King Harmais is buried inside it... [Book 36 XVII] But it was Edgar Cayce, the "sleeping prophet," who popularized the idea of a secret chamber associated with the Sphinx. According to Cayce, there is a "Hall of Records" with an entrance to be found between the paws of the Sphinx. In answer to the request, "Give in detail what the sealed room contains," Cayce answered:
A record of Atlantis from the beginning of those periods when the Spirit took form, or began the encasements in that land; and the developments of the peoples throughout their sojourn; together with …

Was There a Second Great Sphinx at Giza?

The Great Sphinx, carved from bedrock at Giza, is a unique monument. There had been nothing like it before, and nothing like it was to be constructed on the same scale since. But in ancient Egyptian iconography, sphinxes usually traveled in pairs. Could there have been a second Great Sphinx at Giza? Archaeologist Michael Poe is certain of it. He wrote:
There is currently absolutely no archaeological evidence of Khephren 'repairing' the Sphinx. There are two ancient Egyptian references, both during the Middle Kingdom, at a considerably later time. One has it that Khephren found the Sphinx (which would support the Sphinx is older than Khepern), and that Khephern altered it's face. This same source (fragmentary papyrus) said that there was another Sphinx facing this one on the other side of the Nile, and both were built here to represent the dividing line between Northern and Southern Egypt. The other reference said that Khephren built the Sphinx.
Have you ever s…

what exactly happened to the Sphinx's nose?

The Sphinx's Nose
The nose of the Great Sphinx at Giza is made conspicuous by its absence. What happened to it? The popular story is that the troops of Napoleon Bonaparte used the nose for target practice in 1798. Drawings done for La Description de L'Egypte depict a noseless Sphinx.
The Sphinx, 1743.

In 1737, British traveler Richard Pococke visited Egypt and made a sketch of the Sphinx that was published six years later. The nose is shown intact, but Pococke likely exercised his poetic license by adding it when it was not there (earlier, in 1579, Johannes Helferich had further taken an artist's liberties by depicting the Sphinx with a nose -- and with decidedly female features). Frederick Lewis Norden, an artist and marine architect, also sketched the Sphinx in 1737. His detailed drawings, published in 1755, were more realistic and showed the Sphinx with no nose. It is very unlikely that Norden would omit the nose if it was present. We can conclude that the …

The Sphinx's Identity Khafre 1

What pharaoh was the Great Sphinx at Giza meant to resemble? Because evidence indicates that the Sphinx was fashioned during Khafre's reign, most Egyptologists have concluded that the king had it made in his own likeness. It has become the tendency of late for proponents of the "old Sphinx" theory to dispute this conclusion based on the observation that the Sphinx's face does not resemble the face of Khafre at all. This is evidence, they say, that someone else built the Sphinx, and during a much earlier era at that. At least one author, John Anthony West, has gone so far as to enlist the aid of a forensic police artist to help make his case (see Serpent in the Sky: The High Wisdom of Ancient Egypt, 1993, pp. 230-232). But when the face of the Sphinx is compared to the face of Khafre, what exactly is being compared? It might seem obvious, but it really isn't.
West's method was to compare the face on the Sphinx with the face of Khafre as represent…

mummy curses in ancient egypt

Though curses were not commonly recorded in the tombs of ancient Egypt, they were on occasion included. One of the more well-known is preserved in the Dynasty 5 Pyramid Texts :
As for anyone who shall lay a finger on this pyramid and this temple which belong to me and my ka, he will have laid his finger on the Mansion of Horus in the firmament, he will have offended the Lady of the Mansion ... his affair will be judged by the Ennead and he will be nowhere and his house will be nowhere; he will be one proscribed, one who eats himself. A stele belonging to Sarenput I, a nomarch of Elephantine under Senusret I (Dynasty 12), is meant to protect the offerings left to the statue in his image:
As for every mayor, every wab-priest, every scribe and every nobleman who shall take [the offering] from the statue, his arm shall be cut off like that of this bull, his neck shall be twisted off like that of a bird, his office shall not exist, the position of his son shall not exist, his …

Cocaine and Tobacco in Ancient Egypt Sky High Egyptians? Were the Pharoahs Junkies? (Published at Samhain 1996)

Approximately 3,000 years ago, the mummified body of  Henut Taui was laid to rest in a dessert tomb of ancient Egypt.  During her long sleep, Rome rose and fell, the dark ages came and went, Europeans from Napoleon to the Brits conquered her home land, and finally in the early 1800s, the immortality her embalmers had sought for her was attained when her tomb was plundered.
Her body, preserved to the consistency of Beef Jerky, found its way to Germany, a museum in Munich, and during toxicological testing in the 1990s was found to contain large amounts of Cocaine and Tobacco . Cocaine and Tobacco are found only in New World plants, and logically should not have been attained by Ancient Egyptians without contact with America.  There are four possibilities

There was significant trade between the Americas and Ancient Egypt to allow Cocaine and Tobacco to find its way into circulation.Cocaine and Tobacco once grew in the Old World as well, but later b…