A routine excavation at the Great Sphinx of Giza unearthed protective walls, which apparently were built to shield the Sphinx from the desert's blowing sands. The findings were uncovered at the Giza Plateau, where the pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx stand.
The Great Sphinx of Giza, a large half-human, half-lion Sphinx statue on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile River, near modern-day Cairo seen with the Chephren (Khafra) Pyramid in the background. The Great Sphinx is one of the largest single-stone statues on Earth, and is commonly believed to have been built by ancient Egyptians in the 3rd millennium BC, somewhere between 2520 BC and 2494 BC.
Close-up shot of the Great Sphinx.
The head of the Great Sphinx is seen against the background of Khafre's pyramid on the Giza Plateau. The word 'sphinx', which reputedly means 'strangler', was first given by the Greeks to a mythological creature, a unique demon of destruction and ill-fortune, which had the head of a woman, the body of a lion and the wings of a bird, who would ask riddles and devour those unable to answer. In Egypt, there are numerous sphinxes, usually with the head of a king wearing his headdress and the body of a lion.
The Great Pyramid and the Sphinx in a picture taken in 1858.
Sphinx of Hetepheres II, a daughter of Khufu and royal princess of Egypt during the fourth dynasty of Egypt, who became the queen of Egypt. The statue was found at the site of the pyramid of Djedefre at Abu Rawash.
The concept of the sphinx wasn't confined to Egypt. Another great power of the ancient Near East, the Persian Empire at Susa, also incorporate the winged animal into its folklore. In the accompanying image, a sphinx from the palace of Darius the Great from around 480 BC.
Tourists visit the Sphinx of Memphis (1341-1200 BC), displayed at the open air museum of Mit Rahina (Memphis), near Giza, 35 kms south of Cairo.