Egypt Unwrapped: Secrets of the Sphinx (2008)

National Geographic

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Date Added: 12 years ago.

Documentary Description

Was the Sphinx originally built with a lion's head and later remodeled? Dr. Zahi Hawass presents the latest theories and evidence in the mystery of the Sphinx. Egypt is a land filled with hidden treasures, buried secrets, and centuries of old mysteries left unsolved. Perhaps the greatest of these is the Sphinx, no one knows for sure who built it, or when. This Sphinx, a lion with the face of a pharaoh, towers above the Giza Plateau. It is a four-and-half-thousand-year old puzzle, but now the latest science is offering new clues.

  • The first Sphinx was sculpted around 2500 B.C. 

  • The Sphinx’s body was created by carving limestone away to create the form of a lion. The Egyptians made a temple in honor of the Sphinx using the excess stone.

  • The empty space around the Sphinx filled entirely with sand over a long period of neglect. For that reason, only the head and top part of the Sphinx’s back are shown in pictures of Giza.

  • The body of the Sphinx, resembling a lion, was carved at a scale of 22:1 and the head at a scale of 30:1.

  • It is also thought that the body of the Sphinx was stretched out of proportion due to three large fissures inside the stones. These fissures would have barred sculptors from finishing the bottom of the Sphinx, so it was logical to elongate the body instead.
  • Evidence suggests that at one time the Sphinx was colorfully painted.
  • The first known pictures of the Sphinx were created by the Egyptians when the Sphinx was over a 1,000 years old.


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