The Mystery of the Sphinx

I’ll admit it. I’m fascinated by the Great Sphinx of Egypt. It’s mostly due to renegade Egyptologist John Anthony West.


West, who some sites refer to as a “mystic,” offers the notion that the Sphinx is much older than conventional archeology currently accepts. How old? Therein lies a story. When I first encountered West, it was on a NBC TV special called “The Mystery of the Sphinx” in 1993. At the time, I was open to wacky ideas about aliens and lost civilizations. Hell, I’d still love for the world to be that strange and wonderful … but with age, I’ve accepted reality to be as horrifyingly mundane as it tends to be.

But back in the 90s, West got national airtime and initially suggested the Sphinx was built circa 7,000-9,000 BC. He even seemed to have compelling evidence and a geologist to back his theory.

Simply put: the Sphinx, and the walls enclosing it on the Giza Plateau, feature atypical erosion patterns compared to the rest of the complex. The profile of the weathering suggests the limestone was eroded by exposure to rainwater as opposed to the wind erosion seen elsewhere at the site. The last time rain appeared in any significant amount in the area was, roughly, 10,000 years ago. In the special, geologist Dr. Robert Schoch appeared to corroborate the theory. He’s seen walking along the Sphinx enclosure and points out its smooth, undulating walls. He discusses the theory and advances the most conservative estimate, 5,000 BC; a date that still makes it twice as old as conventional thought.

Which, all things considered, doesn’t sound that crazy. Consider a pre-Egyptian civilization in the region that was already experimenting with statuary. Perhaps starting with a natural outcrop of rock, the artisans of this culture kept digging and sculpting until they had a lion or tiger.

A 2010 illustration of the Sphinx's possible original form.

One thing everyone in the field can agree on is the poor quality of the limestone in the enclosure. It erodes fairly quickly and the Sphinx continues to deteriorate even now. So let’s suppose that this Sphinx is out there and abandoned by this forgotten culture. It’s then adopted by the early Egyptian civilization, but the initial head is already weathered beyond recognition. They re-carve it in the image of their current Pharaoh and it’s the face we stare at today.

Yeah, there are some leaps in logic there, but it’s a damn compelling story.

So everything is pretty grounded in this TV special until the half-way mark when West starts tying the Sphinx to Atlantis, the face on Mars, and the sleeping prophet, Edgar Cayce. He then, finally, suggests the Sphinx might be even older than 10,000 years. In a more recent TV program, “The Pyramid Code,” he offers the mind-baffling notion that it was built some 35,000 years ago(!)

Remember that factoid about the limestone being poor building material? Yeah, I thought about that, too.

West is part of a group of people who don’t just want the world to be more interesting, they try to will it into existence. In their version of history, there’s a missing high civilization that was “in tune with nature” and aware of natural forces that allowed them to build on the monumental scale of sites like Giza, Stonehenge and Machu Picchu. In the more grandiose versions, all of these cultures were in contact with one another. In others, they’re survivors of Atlantis. In still others, these megalithic structures are evidence of Pre-Flood societies.

Keep in mind that this timeline of events includes not just the Ice Age, but the earliest appearances of Homo Sapiens on the planetary landscape. The alternative explanation is that mainstream archeology’s timeline is flawed and scientist in the field tend to gloss over any evidence that runs contrary to the accepted dates.

Now you might be thinking, “why can’t we just date the limestone and settle this?” Turns out you can’t carbon date a rock and this alternative version of human history continues to get airtime. But, like I said, it’s a good story and plenty of people like reading about it. Hell, I did when I was younger. What changed?

Well, I became more aligned to the notion that human ingenuity built structures like the Sphinx. It’s actually more compelling, for me, to think that ancient man could conceive and execute engineering marvels. With that, I became a skeptic and tended to side with the humanist answer in all things. We’re incredible marvels of the physical world and we can occasionally do something amazing when we’re not fighting over dwindling resources.

Seriously, we made this.

Which leads me to the distasteful ecological undertone of this lost civilization West and others purport. The group behind “The Pyramid Code” suggest this other culture that grew up around the Sphinx had access to natural energies that could be harnessed in megalithic structures. It was this awareness of something good and wholesome and not mean, old, destructive technology, that allowed the lost civilization to flourish. Embedded in this theory is the hope that we can re-attune ourselves to this energy and reject technology.

Y’know, cause the Force is better for you than the Internet.

Like I said up top, I’d like the world to be filled with wonder and brimming with secret knowledge buried in the rocks just waiting for us to uncover it and become like unto the gods. Sadly, reality runs on some cruel and unfeeling rules of math, gravity, and velocity. For some, that understanding is too painful to accept and they hide in the shadow of a mysterious face in the sand.

About Erik

Erik Amaya is the host of Tread Perilously and the former Head Film/TV writer at Bleeding Cool. He has also contributed to sites like CBR, Comics Alliance and Fanbase Press. He is also the voice of Puppet Tommy on "The Room Responds."
This entry was posted in Home of the Bizarre Rant, I'm Just Sayin, Nerd Alert and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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