> Here's a question for you, Gerd. Say the Sphinx was built at
> 2500 BC. I remember seeing the Sphinx for the first time
> when I was a child and I thought it was wonderful and
> amazing. The thing that I couldn't understand as a child was
> why would the pharaoh who purportedly built it would have
> such a nicely sculpted head on top of such a disfigured
> body. I wasn't questioning the choice of body shape in the
> least. I was questioning the quality of the workmanship.
> When I showed my 7 year old son a picture of the Sphinx, he
> asked the same questions. Nice head, yucky mess for a body.
> It doesn't take an expert or even an adult to look at the
> Sphinx and realize that the head and the body just don't look
> like they go together. Just ask my 7 year old.
> So, my question is...what's the deal then? Are there any
> records of Khafre canning the sculptors on the spot for doing
> such a poor job? I know erosion is one part of your
> forthcoming answer but I question it. After all, the head
> was more subject to the elements than the body, which was
> buried most of the time. The differences in quality between
> the head and the body are extreme...
The body of the Sphinx has been buried several centuries longer than the head, yet the head is in better condition than the body. Some geologists say this is due to the upper layer of sandstone being of a better quality than the lower layers that make up the Sphinx' body. While it may be true that the head is of a more weather resistant stone than the body it doesn't fully explain how the head could have survived with most of its features intact while the stratified body, as one ancient grafitti writer put it, resembles a loop of yarn.
One of the reasons why the head is in comparatively good condition, imo, is that it has been maintained with paint and or varnish well into the Middle Ages. This is confirmed by several of the Arab writers of that period. One of these writers, whose name I don't have handy at the moment, (Latif?)recorded that the head was coated in a varnish that appeared as though it had just been applied. Pliny also said that, in his day, the head was red 'from veneration'. Which was his way of saying someone had been taking care of it.
I have yet to see any geologist, or egyptologist, take this fact into account when attempting to verify the age the Sphinx. Yet it is undeniable that the head was painted and and maintained well into the Middle Ages. How can this fact be ignored in the dating process?