Mystery of the Great Sphinx of Giza: Understanding the Sphinx From a Material Culture Point of View

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Never before in history did any monument receive such wide attention from the public and media like the Great Sphinx of Giza. The 73.5m long and 20m high (Dieter Arnold) stone carved statue not only fascinates people from all around the world, but also created countless movie ideas, novels, video games and raises questions to those who are interested. Undoubtedly, Sphinx has become one of the most notable figures of ancient Egyptian culture just beside the pyramids in the eyes of westerners. However, many questions remained in mysteries for almost decades until the excavation of 1925 by Emile Baraize revealed the Sphinx’s exotic design to the world's view. Why did the ancient Egyptians build this massive structure? For what purpose would…show more content…
It was not until 1789 when Napoleon’s army excavated the Sphinx’s body out of the covering sand partially during his mapping expedition of Giza plateau did the world was reminded of a long forgotten ancient history. During the eighteenth centuries, several more excavations were done on Sphinx by several foreign countries, private contractors and profit seeking corporations. Emile Baraize was perhaps the first person who successfully uncovered the Sphinx entirely from the burying sand ever since king Thutmose IV on 1936. To the world’s view, the Sphinx’s body was heavily deteriorated due to sediment erosion and other geological factors. However, several never before seen subsurface structures were found during the excavation. Such as two subsurface tunnels and a temple which is built to worship the Sphinx. This raised many questions in the mind of scholars and publics, why was the Sphinx built and what does its complex system implicate? According to Mark Lehner, archaeologists can probably never understand the true purpose of the Sphinx. However, as he suggested, we can draw assumption and speculation about the functions of the Sphinx based on the general time line when it was built and the knowledge we had from that time to further understand the Sphinx and its

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