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There could have been two sphinxes, argues one researcher
Published in Daily News Egypt on 28 - 08 - 2007

CAIRO: A thorough analysis of Ancient Egyptian history and examination of archaeological evidence indicate that there were two sphinxes on the Pyramids Plateau, an Egyptian researcher argues.
Egyptologist Bassam El Shammaa believes that the famed half-lion, half-man statue was an Egyptian deity that was erected next to another sphinx, which has since vanished without a trace. This contradicts what many have believed for centuries - that a single colossal statue functioned as a guard to the Pyramids.
The idea of two sphinxes is more in line with ancient Egyptian beliefs, which were mainly based on duality, the researcher said. He cited Ancient Egyptian records and mythology saying that lightening had destroyed part of the Sphinx. This may have been a reference to the second sphinx which was eliminated after a curse by the chief Egyptian deity.
El Shammaa explained: "The pyramid texts recovered at Saqqara, especially from the Wanis Pyramid, contain descriptions of the ancient Egyptian conception of how the universe was created. Basically, this concept underlined the belief in duality.
He added: "Utterance No. 600 says that Atum - the 'complete one' and creator god in ancient Egyptian mythology - created his son Shu and daughter Tefnut, shaping them as a lion and a lioness and placing each one on an extreme tip of the universe.
"Shu was to take the solar disc between his jaws and hand it to his sister Tefnut who in turn would capture it between her jaws and by so doing they would achieve the full cycle of the sun.
While that cycle represented sunrise and sunset and the journey from life to death, it also accounted for the presence of two sphinxes.
"Whenever we have to deal with the solar cult, we should speak of one lion and one lioness facing each other, posing parallel to each other or sitting in a back-to-back position.
"The double avenue of the ram-headed sphinxes fronting the first Karnak pylon and its counterpart of human-headed sphinxes at the Temple of Luxor emphasize this duality, alongside other indications like the double crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt, Isis, Osiris, Habtoor and Horus, elaborated El Shammaa.
But where has the female sphinx gone? Why did she disappear, leaving behind the male sphinx?
El Shammaa pointed out that the Dream Stela carved by Thutmosis IV clearly depicted two sphinxes. The inventory Stela exhibited at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo did the same. The display showed that King Cheops - builder of the Great Pyramid - had undertaken the task of restoring the damage to the Sphinx's neck caused by lightening.
"Examination of the Sphinx revealed that damage in its neck, matching the measurements mentioned in the inventory Stela, had been restored. But we also discover that, besides the Sphinx's neck, the lightening destroyed a sycamore tree as well as an object between the tree and the Sphinx whose remains have settled behind the Valley Temple.
"The Endeavor Satellite released by Nasa over the Pyramids Plateau confirmed the finding. But it makes a lot of sense that lightening could have damaged the Sphinx because the statue was often depicted wearing a double metal crown that must have conducted the shock to the neck, stated El Shammaa.
The Pyramids of Giza predate the magical utterances recovered at Saqqara but the lion deities are predynastic and the building of the pyramids must have been inspired by those mythological figures which had always appeared in duo.
El Shammaa remarked: "My own interpretation is that the miracle structures were dedicated to the lion deities that also ensured their protection. The demolished temple in front of the Sphinx's paws and the Valley Temple that stands next to the site of what we assume to be the second sphinx are proof that those two statues were deities.
"For some reason Tefnut has been cursed, as it is not uncommon in world mythology that the chief deity would curse one of the minor gods. The incident of the lightening that wiped out Tefnut must have been exploited by priests to justify her curse and the silence on her disappearance.
"Because they hunt from night to dawn, lionesses have been associated with moisture perceived by priests as destructive for temples and tombs and this is one reason they must have been banished.
"But I would also like to note that the monuments at the Pyramids Plateau are devoid of any hieroglyphic texts and they must have been a riddle for the Ancient Egyptians who lived after the era of the Old Kingdom.
El Shammaa believes that the temples raised near the sphinxes came after the Giza Pyramids were built, which is further proof of the sacred status of these statues.
"At the end of the day our interpretation of mythology could be right or wrong. But we can't ignore the archaeological evidence existing at the site and the stelae.
"John Wilkinson (1797-1875), who depicted the Dream Stela in one famous painting, placed two hieroglyphic words under the second sphinx, which meant 'shun,' or 'avoid'. This issue will always be shrouded in mystery, he said.


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