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A research team has discovered physical evidence that the Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt, may date from 5000 and 7000 BCE and possibly earlier. In response, archaeologists have thrown mud at geologists, historians have been caught in the middle, and the Sphinx, having revealed one secret, challenges us to unravel even greater ones.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science scheduled a session to debate the issue at its annual general meeting in Chicago on 7th February 1992. Lehner attended along with geologist K. Lal Gauri of the University of Louisville, who had also studied the Sphinx for many years. West also attended and presented his arguments. (17)
Once again, the water erosion findings were endorsed even though Egyptologists themselves could not bring themselves to accept the implications of this endorsement.
The AAAS meeting broke up in words that, according to the New York Times "skated on the icy edge of scientific politeness
A writer for the AAAS magazine Science wrote that Schoch "hadn't convinced many archaeologists or geologists" of his findings. In fact, Schoch had received offers of support from geologists after the October and February meetings. Even some archaeologists accepted his geological findings without conceding the conclusion to which they pointed"
Originally posted by zephyrs
Call me clueless but I don't quite understand what significance the Sphinx's date truly has? Surely it doesn't move back the dates of the Great Pyramids, does it? Otherwise they'd show similar weathering patterns, right?
Is the whole point of this Sphinx age debate to try to prove know-it-all eyptologists wrong or is there something more significant to this that I'm totally missing? Just curious. Thanks
[edit on 18-5-2008 by zephyrs]
and understanding would have to redone and rethought, and all of a sudden every Egyptologist does not have the credentials to teach what has already been taught
Originally posted by Hollywood11
Egyptological dating of the Sphinx disproved
In the 1990s a large body of evidence, including the evidence of water erosion determined the Sphinx to have been built in 10,500 BC, as opposed to the previously held 2500 BC dating for the Sphinx. Only rain water, and nothing else, can cause the deep, smooth, grooved channels, the so called vertical fissures which are basically small waterfalls, on it according to Geology. It couldn't have rained on the Sphinx enough to cause the rain weathering it has on it, unless it was built 12,000 years ago when the Giza plateau was not a dry desert like it is now, but when it was greener and wetter.
Originally posted by Hollywood11
1400 geologists agreed the data was correct and the Sphinx must be thousands of years older than archaeologists had thought.
From there it became huge news and appeared in headlines in newspapers around the world. It became a hugely contested issue. A major debate was scheduled to take place under the direction of the AAAS which is the publisher of the scientific journal Nature, one of the most prestigous in the world. Zahi Hawass the Director of Antiquities on of Egypt, and Mark Lehner the world's foremost expert on the Sphinx attended to argue against the Geological data and represent archaeology. In the end the rain erosion findings could not be disproven as it is a simple fact. Archaeologists cannot accept the implications of the data, but they have to accept the Sphinx bears rain erosion.
Geology beats Archaeology here as the harder science.
Originally posted by Hollywood11
The geological evidence is primarily based on rain erosion dating
[edit on 22-5-2008 by Hollywood11]
Concerning the use of the seismic data to date the initial excavation of the Sphinx: It has taken about 4,500 years for the subsurface weathering at the younger, western-most floor of the Sphinx enclosure to reach a depth of about four feet (assuming that the western end was fully excavated to approximately its present state during Old Kingdom activity at the site - - see further discussion below). Since the weathering on the other three sides is between 50 and 100 percent deeper, it is reasonable to assume that this excavation is 50 to 100 percent older than the western end. If we accept Khafre's reign as the date for the western enclosure, then this calculation pushes the date for the Great Sphinx's original construction back to approximately the 5000 to 7000 B.C. range.
I believe this estimate nicely ties in with the climatic history of the Giza Plateau and correlates with the nature and degree of the surface weathering and erosion features. This estimate can be considered a minimum if we assume that weathering rates proceed non-linearly (the deeper the weathering is, the slower it may progress due to the fact that it is "protected" by the overlying material), and there is the possibility that the very earliest portion of the Sphinx dates back to before 7000 B.C. However, given the known moister conditions on the Giza Plateau prior to the middle third millennium B.C. versus the prevailing aridity since then, some might argue that initial subsurface weathering may possibly (but not necessarily) have been faster than later weathering, and this could counter balance the potential "non-linear" effect mentioned in the last sentence. In other words, the early moist conditions might, crudely, give deeper weathering which could appear to give it an "older" date but this is countered by the non-linear nature of the weathering which could appear to give it a "younger" date. In the end, based on many hours of analysis and rumination, I am satisfied that the two opposing factors roughly cancel each other out and a crude linear interpretation of the data is justifiable. In this manner, I return to my estimate of circa 5000 to 7000 B.C. for the oldest portion of the Sphinx, a date that is corroborated by the correlation between the nature of the weathering in the Sphinx enclosure and the paleoclimatic history of the region.
It has also been suggested that the Sphinx has been heavily weathered by the action of subsurface ground water being sucked up into the pores of the rock by capillary action (Lawton and Ogilvie-Herald, page 316). There are a couple of problems with this hypothesis. First, I have yet to see any evidence that this is actually occurring to any significant extent today, much less in the past. If it is a significant factor in producing the weathering profile seen on the Sphinx and in the Sphinx enclosure, then it should also produce the same features (and to the same degree) on rock-cut structures carved from the same limestones and at the same elevation or lower found immediately to the south of the Sphinx enclosure. Yet such "capillary weathering" is not evident there. Second, such "capillary weathering," if it does indeed occur to any significant degree in the present day, may well be the result of rising water tables due to sewerage from the adjacent village that has been progressively encroaching on the Giza Plateau.