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    Cool MORE THAN ONE SPHINX ON THE GIZA PLATEAU?

    MORE THAN ONE SPHINX ON THE GIZA PLATEAU?

    By Gerry Cannon & Joseph P J Westlake

    © Joseph P J Westlake and Gerry J M Cannon 2011. All rights reserved.

    I was introduced to Gerry Cannon (Fig 1) in 1994. What follows is a brief story of an on/off relationship that has carried all of us into realms of which none of us had ever dreamed.

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    (Fig 1) Gerry Cannon

    My first reaction to this retired English businessman was that he was a bit of an oddball. Today I see him more as a man with a mission. He wants to persuade someone to excavate the Giza Plateau to uncover the ‘other’ Sphinx that he postulates lies under the mantle of sand. Gerry assumes that it will be pretty much identical with the Giza Sphinx we all know, except for the head – more of that later. Gerry tells us, in clear, uncomplicated terms, how he has reached his conclusion concerning the location of another Sphinx on the Plateau.
    First I should set the scene. Although other Europeans had preceded him, when the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte entered Egypt in the late seventeen nineties, (Fig 2) such was his interest in the pyramids, temples and other antiquities of the Nile region that he brought with him not only his invading military force, the 40,000 strong Army of The Orient, but also a small army of intellectuals, scientists and researchers. So began the ‘modern world’s’ consuming interest in the culture, social structure and architecture of the ancient and enigmatic Egyptians. These newcomers, who included skilled artists, had at their disposal the then latest technology in the fields of cartography, geography and geology by means of which they would further their knowledge and seek to satisfy the deep interest of their master. Not to mention the apocryphal story of his soldiers whiling away their leisure hours by taking pot-shots at the Sphinx, thus accounting for its missing nose.

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    (Fig 2) Bonaparte before The Sphinx. 1867-1868. Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824 – 1904)

    It seems clear from Gérôme’s painting that, at the time of Napoleon’s visit in 1798-9, all that was visible of the Sphinx was the head protruding from the ground with only a suggestion of the enormous lion-like body that lay covered, literally, by the sands of time.
    With the stability of its underlying solid bedrock, its significant elevation above the Nile valley and its general topographical layout, the Giza Plateau and its various structures and edifices gave every appearance of having been selected with some deliberation and for some purpose not altogether clear, but among others, related to global awareness, as well as solar and astronomical observation. It was undoubtedly regarded as a very special place from the earliest known Egyptian records. Scores of people, including Gerry Cannon and, reputedly, even Napoleon himself, have reported strange experiences as a result of remaining, usually alone for various periods of time, within the chambers of the Great Pyramid. Precisely how, when and why this Pyramid and its neighbours were built is still a matter of some conjecture and controversy among Egyptologists.
    Whilst mainstream Egyptology ages these massive structures to around four thousand years, nevertheless many scholars substantive evidence indicating at least ten thousand years.
    In his book ‘The High Wisdom of Ancient Egypt’, the amateur Egyptologist John Anthony West drew attention to the 1950’s work of R Schwaller de Lubicz who had postulated that the body of the Sphinx, though not the pyramids, indicated indisputable signs of water erosion, suggesting that it was much older than the conventionally accepted four and a half thousand years. As West pursued his investigations he invited the assistance of Dr Robert M Schoch who, at Boston University, specialises in geology and geophysics.
    On examining detailed photographs of the Sphinx, Dr Schoch, as he explains on his website, concluded that water erosion was indeed responsible for the weathering of the Sphinx body. After visiting the site he further concluded this weathering strongly suggested that the Sphinx had been there since at least 5,000 BCE. As Dr Schoch explains on his website and elsewhere, the establishment continues to refute his scientific findings. Meanwhile John Anthony West opines that the Sphinx was built between 15,000 and 10,000 BCE.
    Gérôme’s painting, along with numerous other illustrations and photographs over a considerable period, make it very clear that the sands of time have long ebbed and flowed hereabouts, sometimes covering, sometimes exposing the Sphinx to various degrees. If the geological evidence of the West/Schoch school is to be considered, then it is reasonable to assume that, since the time when the waters subsided and the process of desertification began, then the rise and fall of the sand level has followed the pattern which is now well understood and accepted by mainstream archaeologists as well as the geologists, (albeit in more recent times with the assistance of humankind.) (Fig 3) So the Sphinx we all now see has spent varying intervals of time at least partially inundated by the constantly shifting sands at the edge of the Sahara Desert.

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    (Fig 3) So we have a major difference of opinion as to the age of the Sphinx.

    The body of a lion and the head of a man.
    How can such an enigma be explained. Again there are differing interpretations as to how or why the riddle has arisen. In the view of many Egyptologists the head of the Sphinx is likened to that of the pharaoh Khafre, also known as Chephren. The comparison is derived from disputed evidence but, as many of us saw on national television, it was supported by computer imaging work carried out by Mark Lehner, today a research associate of both the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, as well as of the Semitic Museum at Harvard University; undoubtedly a voice to be reckoned with in this field.
    Since the 1970’s this world-renowned Egyptologist has devoted his life to studying the Giza Plateau and its many and varied artefacts.
    Lehner demonstrated that Khafre’s face and that of the Sphinx are identical but John Anthony West was not convinced and, with the aid of a forensic artist from the New York Police Department, Frank Domingo, he challenged Lehner’s conclusion. Domingo’s professional skills led him to the conclusion, for example, that the Sphinx face (Fig 4) has a distinctive African, Nubian or Negroid characteristic absent in that of Khafre as seen in a single statue found in the nearby Valley Temple.

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    (Fig 4)
    Domingo’s conclusions also included that ‘If the ancient Egyptians were skilled technicians and were capable of duplicating images then these two works cannot represent the same individual.’
    Many people find this sort of evidence pretty convincing but, judging by his public statements, including in at least one Television Documentary, Dr Zahi Hawass, the Egyptian Minister of State for Antiquities shares Dr Mark Lehner’s view, that the Sphinx face is that of the pharaoh Khafre.
    To come now to Gerry Cannon’s strongly held view as to the existence of a second, related Sphinx on the Giza Plateau; he has discussed the subject with both Dr Hawass and Dr Lehner. Both are adamant that there is absolutely no second Sphinx and have gone to some lengths to indicate their conviction. Although there is support for Gerry’s theory, neither of these internationally known Egyptologists has, so far, taken Gerry’s proposal seriously enough to consider any investigation. Apparently the mound in question has never been excavated.
    It is intriguing that, whereas the pyramids are constructed edifices, that is to say they are the result of placing innumerable blocks of rock one atop another, the Sphinx is carved in one piece from the indigenous, underlying, natural rock (although in places it has subsequently undergone quite extensive repair using individual blocks.) This anomaly immediately leads to the thought that it might have been so carved by different people motivated by different and even unrelated purposes from that of the pyramid builders. On the other hand, if the building of one or more of the three pyramids was concurrent with the carving of the Sphinx, what then was its purpose and significance? But who were the pyramid builders? Mainstream Egyptology seems to cling to Khafre as the architect of the second pyramid as well as the Sphinx, largely on the basis of archaeological evidence such as the statues of him that were found in the nearby Valley Temple; however, more recently and controversially, West and Schoch have quite persuasively disputed this.
    What is most interesting is the topographical location of the Sphinx in relation to its neighbours, the three principal pyramids.
    Why carve just one? Why, in an otherwise incredibly precise mathematical layout of the Giza Plateau’s features, locate this one Sphinx in an oddly offset alignment with its supposedly related neighbours? Now things are getting more interesting and there are a number of discrepancies to look into later.
    Edgar Cayce, the so-called ‘sleeping prophet’ declared in the early part of the twentieth century that the Sphinx provided clues to the whereabouts of records of the wisdom of the lost civilisation of Atlantis which would be found in a nearby subterranean chamber, though such a chamber has not yet been discovered.

    Let Gerry Cannon take up the story.
    “Although on my early visits my attention was directed principally to matters concerning the Exodus, naturally, whilst staying in one of Cairo’s principal hotels, I could hardly avoid the Pyramids and the Sphinx. I learned some of the debated history of the site and the scientific uncertainty as to the manner of construction of the edifices; the contention as to the age of the Sphinx and its relationship to the other structures. In particular I became puzzled by the apparent anomaly of the Sphinx’s spatial connection with the three pyramids. I acquired an aerial photograph of the Plateau (Fig 5) which would subsequently distract and divide my attention.

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    (Fig 5) AERIAL PHOTO OF GIZA PLATEAU

    By now my interest was being drawn to the work of certain learned scholars and researchers whose various theories as to the reasons and purposes of the Giza structures included astronomical mathematics, religion and cultural and social practices. Some of the writers very persuasively suggested connections to other man-made structures across the world, such as pyramids and temples, also with very strong astronomic overtones. A number of very serious people were experimenting with the application of sound as a means of manipulating the energies experienced by some visitors, especially in relation to the chambers within the Pyramid.
    After considering this veritable compendium of data I now found my attention being seriously drawn to the matter of the Giza Sphinx. It was in December 2003 that I returned to Egypt for the first time since my Army days in 1955 and, in a way that can only be described as coincidental; I made the acquaintance of Dr Zahi Hawass, then the Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. I also met and became friendly with Adel Hussein Mohammed, the General Director of Giza Pyramids (Fig 6) as well as a number of other officials and staff of the Giza Plateau offices (Fig 7) for whose help I am extremely grateful.

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    (Fig 6) Adel Hussein Mohammed

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    (Fig 7) Mansour Boraik, the Chief Inspector ofGiza Pyramids, and members of his staff

    My next visit to Egypt came in March 2005 when, with a group of four acquaintances, I was researching another matter in the Western Desert. During that time we visited the Giza Plateau and I introduced them to Adel as they wanted to visit the King’s Chamber in the Great Pyramid. Adel introduced us to a guide who would take us there and before we left the office I suddenly and unaccountably turned to Adel and blurted out; "When I return, I’m going to tell you something about the Sphinx!" I had no idea what made me say that as I had never been that interested in the Sphinx.
    To occupy the hour or so we would have to wait, the guide suggested that we spend some time taking a look inside the Pyramid of Kafhre which is also known as the Chephren Pyramid. It is a short distance south west from the Great Pyramid and not quite as large, although it sits on bedrock 10metres (33 feet) higher than the Great Pyramid, which makes it appear taller. It is this pyramid which, at first, appears to be in line with the Sphinx. I had never given it much thought and in fact I had never taken any special photos of it. Yet when I was inside its chamber I suddenly had an overwhelming feeling that there was more than one Sphinx on the Giza Plateau!
    As soon as I came out of that Pyramid my first thought was to gaze in the direction of the Sphinx which is situated on lower ground than the Kafhre Pyramid. It was then that I noticed that it was offset and not directly lined up with the centre of the pyramid.
    With that thought in mind I could not help saying to myself again that there is more than one Sphinx. I made some mental observations and calculations concerning the location of the Sphinx and then I walked around the outside of the Kafhre Pyramid looking from north, south and west. I noticed that the space around the Pyramid in each of those three directions was clear desert.
    This led to the thought that, as the Sphinx was offset from the Pyramid and was facing east, then perhaps it was there to act as a guardian. Yet if that were so then it was feasible that there could have been a pair of them, just like the Chinese Imperial Guardian Lions, also called Fu Dogs or Foo Dogs They guard temples and they are in pairs.
    While the Egyptians regarded the standing Sphinx as a conqueror, the crouching Sphinx was a guardian of sacred places. Thus pairs of Sphinxes flanked avenues or entrances to important buildings. I checked out the area to the north of the Sphinx at a distance from the Pyramid which I estimated to be equal to that of the existing, visible Sphinx. This would be the location of my proposed second Sphinx sharing the task of guarding the Kafhre Pyramid. That took me to a point that was directly across the paved road leading to Sphinx Square and on a raised area of desert sand (Fig 8). My superficial examination of the hard surface suggested that this was compacted sand that had not been disturbed for a very long time, perhaps centuries
    Since the Sphinx had only been re-excavated in recent times then this was clearly not the spoil heap resulting from that excavation. In an aside I wondered what did happen to all that sand.
    What struck me as most significant was that I was looking at a huge mound of sand, hardened by centuries of settlement and exposure and weathering. It was approximately the same length and width as the Sphinx in its enclosure, and the top of it was at a somewhat higher elevation than the top of the Sphinx’s head!

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    (Fig 8) View from the top of the Great Pyramid. Circ.1900.

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    (Fig 9)

    I figured that, if my theory was valid, then that mound was not just sand but could well be concealing the area where another Sphinx might lie buried (Fig 10). However, I would have to make some more accurate calculations once I returned to Spain and work them out on my computer from satellite images or, better still, an aerial photo.

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    (Fig 10)

    The next morning I returned to the Plateau Office to thank my friends on the staff for their help and to bid them goodbye. As soon as we got there Adel, the one to whom I had addressed my remark the previous day, reminded me about what I had said concerning the Sphinx. I described what I had observed and asked him if those areas to the north, south and west of the Kafhre Pyramid had ever been explored archaeologically. After looking closely at my map he replied that, as far as he knew, no one had ever suggested that there could be other major structures buried out there. However, now that I pointed it out, he thought it could be possible. I said I would like to discuss it with Dr Hawass but he was not in Cairo. I told Adel that I would try and get some more information and contact Dr Hawass another time.
    On my next visit in the autumn of 2005 this time in company with an American friend, I called on Adel and reminded him that I had identified an area where I believed another Sphinx might be found. I needed to find out the approximate distance from the top centre of the head of the existing Sphinx to the eastern base of the Khafre (Chephren) pyramid. The easiest way to do it would be by checking the distance on a car odometer. Fortunately I was able to use a suitable vehicle (Fig 11) and drove down the road from the Pyramid to where the Sphinx is situated on its northern flank.

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    (Fig 11)

    I instructed the driver to turn his vehicle to face the Khafre pyramid and drive slowly towards it. When I could see that we were in line with the Sphinx’s head I had the odometer set to zero and, once we had driven to a point in line with the eastern edge of the pyramid, I thumped on the cab for the vehicle to stop. The distance was 0.6 of a kilometre (600 metres.) We then drove to the western base of the pyramid and calculated 600 metres to the west of it. As I had anticipated there was no sign of any construction, just more sand. I checked out the approximate distance from the south and north side of the pyramid and there too, there was only sand. Once again I was struck most forcibly by the fact that in all of these three locations the sand level is substantially higher than the top of the Sphinx. I asked the driver if those areas had ever been excavated but he did not think so and neither did Adel when I explained to him what I had done.
    My idea, or inspiration or whatever one wants to call it, was that if the Khafre Pyramid were to be guarded on one side by a pair of Sphinxes, then what might there be on the other three sides.
    As the Sphinx was offset from the centre-line of the Khafre pyramid, then perhaps there was a pair of them on its west side. If so then the second one must be buried under the sand to the north of the one we can all see.

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    (Fig 12)

    From what I could see there is a mound in that area which looks as though it is about three metres higher than the Sphinx’s head. The approximately Sphinx-shaped markings in the sand, seen in this aerial photograph (Fig 16), could have resulted from differential settlement due to the presence of some solid object or structure below the present surface.
    It would be no great task, and would certainly not disturb any construction as the area is only sand, for a pilot hole to be drilled into the spot calculated from the Sphinx’s head to the mound and, if the drill were to hit something hard at the appropriate depth into the sand, then it would be worth investigating by digging the short distance down to it. On the other hand there is the standard archaeologist’s technique of scanning the mound with Ground Penetrating Radar. Even more technologically advanced and sophisticated is the use of scanning satellite images by Sub-Terrain Prospecting. By doing both a top scan and a side scan it would readily be discovered whether or not there is a large bedrock profile, resembling a Sphinx, within the sand outline. If that proved positive then the techniques could also be applied to the areas to the north, south and west sides of the Khafre pyramid.
    I needed to discuss the whole matter with Dr Zahi Hawass but he was still in the USA. I knew that for many years he had been a close friend and colleague of an American archaeologist named Dr Mark Lehner. In 1984 Dr Lehner worked on a Giza Plateau mapping project (on which he is still engaged) so there would be on file a collection of survey drawings, photographs etc from which my theories could be checked and tested. I asked Adel if he had a contact number for Dr Lehner in the USA and was surprised and delighted when he said that Lehner was in Cairo and had been working on some excavations. Apparently, he was leaving for the USA the following morning. Adel quickly obtained a contact number and I called Dr Lehner.
    I briefly told him about a possible chance of another Sphinx which I would like to discuss with him and that I was willing to meet him at his hotel or at the Giza office. He told me that he was very busy getting ready to leave for the USA and that he had no time, either to go to the Plateau or to meet me in Cairo. He was quite adamant in declaring that there is only one Sphinx on the Plateau. I told him that I would like to explain my theory and he said that I should e-mail him although he might be too busy to respond. He then abruptly hung up.
    It was clear from the tone of his voice that he was not interested in talking to me, probably because I was not an archaeologist, and that he would not welcome any further approach from me. I handed the phone back to Adel and told him that Dr Lehner had sounded hostile, at which he shrugged his shoulders.
    I had been talking to Adel for about another thirty minutes when, without warning, the door burst open and I instantly recognised the man who unceremoniously strode in as Dr Mark Lehner.
    I do not know whether his face was red from the sun or from embarrassment that I should see him there. Without a word to me he spoke sharply to Adel in Arabic in a raised voice and though I could not understand a word, it was obvious from his gestures that he was grumbling about me. I presumed that no-one in the outer office had told him that I was with Adel.
    When he had finished talking to Adel I briefly repeated my theory but he cut me short saying it was not possible as the Giza Plateau was rock and no Sphinx could be buried under it. I suggested that one could not rule out the possibility that, over a few thousand years of sandstorms, there could be a variety of things buried out there on the Plateau. He reiterated that there was no other Sphinx. I referred to his earlier survey work and asked him if he would be kind enough to allow me access to some of the many plans and aerial photographs of the whole area that would be in his files. He brusquely responded that if I wanted to see plans of the Giza Plateau then I should contact the Supreme Council of Antiquities and with that he left, so I was really no further forward.
    After my return to Spain I noticed on the internet that, in an 1857 illustration of the Sphinx (Fig 13), it was buried up to the neck in sand. Many of the tombs that we can see in the same locality today are not visible in this picture as they, likewise, have been uncovered only in comparatively recent times.

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    Fig 13

    There are several reported and documented Egyptologists who discovered Sphinxes in other locations, some across the Nile but they were of mud brick construction and were all pretty well obliterated long ago so I do not consider these worthy of further attention.
    My internet search also revealed that an Egyptian amateur Egyptologist named Bassam El Shammaa believed that there was a second Sphinx on the Giza Plateau. He based his belief on the Egyptian tradition of always placing Sphinx statues in pairs, as guardians for temples and that certainly matched my theory. Like me, Bassam el Shammaa has had problems trying to persuade Dr Hawass to take his hypothesis seriously.
    But back to Giza; nestled between the paws of the Sphinx is a stele, a carved slab of stone (Fig 14), whose hieroglyphs tell a story in which two Sphinxes are depicted.

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    (Fig 14)

    El Shammaa suggests that we should take this image literally, whereas conventional archaeologists believe that the two Sphinxes are just a repeated image of the same Sphinx.
    I thought it was time to contact Dr Zahi Hawass so I sent him an e-mail on 30th November 2005 indicating that I wanted to discuss the possible existence of another Sphinx on the Giza Plateau and other relevant matters. His response on 20th December made it clear that he could not consider working with me as the rules of his Office required that he work only with persons connected with reputable institutions and that on professional and ethical grounds he could not give me approval to operate unless whatever I were proposing to do was organised or sponsored by a reputable professional research group, such as a university or other institutional body. Maybe I could work something out along those lines. After all, I had already made noises among some of the professional people on the Giza Plateau suggesting that there was circumstantial evidence to postulate the existence of at least one more sphinx out there. Was I being stonewalled - given the cold shoulder - by the professionals or did they already know something they did not want to share, either with me or the rest of the interested Egyptological community?

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    (Fig 15)

    Continued........

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