The colossal statue takes the form of a crouching lion with a human head, thought to be carved with the features of Khafre, though this is the subject of some debate. Sphinxes are typical elements of Egyptian statuary, but the unique architecture of the Great Sphinx has long fired the imaginations of 'fantasy archaeologists' who assert that the sculpture is the work of a civilisation far more ancient than the builders of the pyramids. While the enigmatic history of the Sphinx is undeniable, recent intensive excavations and restorations have revealed no secret subterranean chambers or evidence of vanished civilisations - to the disappointment of many, who now claim a conspiracy on the part of the Egyptian government to keep this information from the world.
The body of the Sphinx, almost 60m long and 20m high, was carved from alternate soft and hard layers of sediments of marly limestone laid down during the formation of the Giza plateau in the geological Eocene period. The harder layers were quarried, blocks extracted for Old Kingdom building projects and it is now possible to identify the stone used in each of the nearby structures, providing evidence of the sequence of quarrying. The walls of Khafre's valley temple were probably composed of massive blocks from the upper part of the Sphinx's body, while some of the limestone blocks of the Sphinx Temple came from an area around the Sphinx's chest
Keywords: Egypt, Giza, Matruh, Ancient Egyptian, Old Kingdom, ceremonial and/or religious structures, pyramids, colossal, monument. Submitted by Allen Coleman.