Archaeologists mock claim of second Sphinx statue

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CAIRO – Reda Abdel Halim, public relations director for the Giza Pyramids District at the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, told local media on October 24 that he had discovered a statue in the pyramids area similar in size to the Sphinx.

According to him, the statue is 73 meters high, with a head 20.5 meters high, and hands extended 15.5 meters, like the Sphinx.

He added that scientific research has been published at the University of Zagazig confirming the existence of this statue.

However, “This is absolutely not true,” Zahi Hawass, a former Minister of Antiquities and archaeologist who oversaw the area of ​​the pyramids for nearly 20 years, told Al-Monitor.

“The Sphinx is unique in Egypt and in the world. … Any discussion of finding other similar statues is baseless and has only one purpose, which creates a media fanfare, ”he added.

“Any claim regarding research on the Sphinx at Zagazig University is also false,” Hawass continued, pointing out that Egyptian archaeologists are not aware of ongoing scientific research at any Egyptian university on the discovery of such a statue. .

“Studies and research need to be published in a scientific journal so that we can respond with scientific evidence. The discussions about a text which would have been inscribed on the Sphinx but which has been erased by the passage of time mentioning the existence of another similar statue, are without merit, ”said Hawass.

“During the many years that I have ruled the Pyramids of Giza area, we have worked with Egyptian and foreign experts and archaeologists, sweeping the entire area, and I can assure you that there is no another statue of the Sphinx, “he added.

Abdel Halim stands by his claims, pointing out in his press release that the statue found is another Sphinx and that the writings on the original statue that have been erased are proof of his claims.

However, Nevin al-Arif, media adviser to the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, told Al-Monitor: “All these claims about a new Sphinx are without merit. Archaeologists and experts, including the secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mustafa al-Waziri, denied the allegations, she said.

“The statue in question was discovered a long time ago in the area and has nothing to do with the original Sphinx. It is nothing more than a normal statue,” she said. at Al-Monitor.

When a major discovery is made, “the ministry would coordinate fully with those in charge of the discovery,” Arif said. “The ministry is usually informed of all the details of such a discovery, which would be officially announced at a press conference attended by local and foreign reporters and journalists.”

Mohammed Hamza, the former dean of the archeology faculty at Cairo University, told Al-Monitor that any discussion of the discovery of a new Sphinx is completely baseless and fair to the media fanfare.

He pointed out that a few years ago David Wilson, the former director of the British Museum, made similar statements, claiming that a yellow spot next to the Sphinx was the location of another similar statue, this which turned out to be false.

“The area of ​​the pyramids of Giza is an active area in terms of archeology and tourism. If there had been another Sphinx, scientists would have discovered it sooner. This area is of paramount importance, whether in the past or today, ”Hamza said.

Because the area is one of the most famous tourist and archaeological sites in the world, he said: “If there had been another statue of the Sphinx, it would have been discovered two hundred years ago. The excavations and digging operations do not stop there.


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