The GREAT SPHINX OF GIZA, commonly referred to as the Sphinx of Giza or just the Sphinx, is a limestone statue of a reclining or couchant sphinx (a mythical creature with a lion's body and a human head) that stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile in Giza, Egypt. The face of the Sphinx is generally believed to represent the face of the Pharaoh Khafra.
It is the largest monolith statue in the world, standing 73.6 metres (241 ft) long, 19.3 metres (63 ft) wide and 20.22 metres (66.34 ft) high. It is the oldest known monumental structure, and is commonly believed to have been built by ancient Egyptians of the Old Kingdom during the reign of the Pharaoh Khafra (c. 2558-2532 BC).
The Sphinx is a monolith carved down into the bedrock of the plateau which also served as the uarry for the pyramids and other monuments in the area. Because of the geological history, the nummulitic limestone of the area consists of layers of widely differing quality offering unequal resistance to erosion, mostly due to wind and windblown sand, which explains the uneven degradation of the body of the Sphinx. The floor of the Spinx depression and lowest part of the body including the legs is solid, hard rock. Above this, the lion up to its neck is a heterogeneous zone with friable layers that have suffered considerable disintegration, The layer in which the head was sculpted is also much harder.
The Great Sphinx is one of the world's largest and oldest statues but basic facts about it are still subject to debate such as when it was built, by whom. and for what purpose. Pliny the Elder mentioned the Great Sphinx in his book, 'Natural History', comment that the Egyptians looked upon the statue as a 'divinity' that has been passed over in silence and "that King Harmais was buried in it".
Though there have been conflicting evidence and viewpoints over the years, the view held by modern Egyptology at large remains that the Great Sphinx was built in approximately 2500BC for the pharaoh Khafra, the builder of the Second Pyramid at Giza.
Taking all things into consideration, it seems that we must give the credit of erecting this, the world's most wonderful statue, to Khafra, but always with this reservation: that there is not one single contemporary inscription which connects the Sphinx with Khafra; so sound as it may appear, we must treat the evidence as circumstantial, until such time as a lucky turn of the spade of the excavator will reveal to the world a definite reference to the erection of the Sphinx.
There is much more discussion about the Sphinx on Wikipedia if you should want to pursue it. It is all very fascinating to read.
Phil has been interested in Egyptology since he was a young man and his knowledge is far greater than mind and he often quotes things to me about the early Egyptians. It never fails to amaze me how much he retains in his memory about things he reads or hears about especially when it is in his field of interest.
P.S. I trust everyone will have a happy and peaceful Easter weekend.