Higher than a six-storey building, longer than a city block, and carved entirely from the natural bedrock, the Great Sphinx at Giza is one of the most enigmatic and ancient monuments in all of Egypt. It is also a complete mystery. As for the matter of its age, and who built it, this is one of the most hotly debated issues in science today. Below I have attempted to summarise the known facts, and put forward a few opinions. From the tips of its paws to the base of its tail, the Great Sphinx measures 240 feet (73m) in length, and the top of the head reaches 66 feet (20m) from ground level. It is carved directly from the living limestone bedrock right on the edge of the Giza plateau, and is oriented precisely Due East, so that its gaze points directly at sunrise on the Spring and Autumn equinoxes. As mentioned in an earlier section, its construction began with the excavation of a large trench around the outcrop of rock, and the collosal stones removed in this process were used to construct the Valley and Sphinx temples nearby – this has been proved by rock strata analysis. The shape and features of the monument were then carved from the exposed rock. The monument is also completely anonymous – it bears no inscriptions of any kind from which to establish who built it, and when. And because it is carved from natural rock, modern techniques like Carbon 14 dating are useless in establishing its antiquity. It is also worth noting that there is at least one tunnelinside the body of the Sphinx, possibly leading to a chamber, but I found very difficult to get hold of detailed information on this subject, and needless to say, this area is not open to the public.


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