BURIED SPHINX


Did you know that the Great Sphinx was once buried almost up to its neck in sand? The desert had reclaimed it after thousands of years of abandonment. It lay in wait to be uncovered.

As you can see, this picture was taken before extensive restoration works were carried out. The head is in very bad shape.

Repairs were carried out in 1931 to strengthen the head. Part of its headdress had fallen off in 1926 due to erosion - so this was repaired too.

The missing nose has been subject to controversy for many years. Examinations of the face show that long rod-like tools and chisels were used to pry it off sometime between the 3rd and 10th centuries AD.

One tale attributes Napoleon’s armies blasting it off with cannonballs during his invasion of Egypt in the 17th Century. This is wholly apocryphal.

Other historians claim that the nose was removed in an act of iconoclasm. One suspect named is Muhammad Sa'im al-Dahr, who in 1378 AD, found local people making offerings to the Sphinx in the hope of increasing their harvest and therefore he defaced it. An act of pure barbarism.

However, there is no solid proof regarding the fate of the nose. Maybe one day we will find out.

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