Decoding the Actual Age of the Great Sphinx

Decoding Great Sphinx

Posing as a sentinel on the Giza plateau is the weathered and colossal figure that stands 66 feet above the desert sand, the Great Sphinx, a limestone sculpture with the head of a lion and the body of a human. While we now know much about the history and mythology of the ancient Egyptians, the mystery of the Sphinx has yet to be truly unraveled. 

An ongoing battle between mainstream Egyptologists and a more recent wave of independent thinkers debates the age of the Sphinx by thousands of years. The latter insists the imposing limestone statue is much older than mainstream archaeologists, and Egyptologists claim it to be.

Mainstream archaeologists determined the Sphinx to have been built between 2558 and 2532 BCE. But in 1992, John Anthony West rocked the scientific community with his claim that the Sphinx was actually carved 10,000 years earlier before Egypt was a desert. West and others argued that academia had overlooked an important detail—the body of the sculpture bore distinct markings of water erosion. 

After his assessment of the Sphinx’s age, West found fellow scientists who shared his observation about uncovering an entirely different history than was commonly accepted. West’s search led him to Robert Schoch, a geology professor at Boston University, willing to pursue an open-minded, out-of-the-box investigation into the origins not only of the Sphinx but the entire region, as well as its implications for the origin of the human species.  

In Gaia’s original series, Ancient Civilizations, Schoch explains his first encounter with the figure in 1990, at which time he immediately noticed there was a disconnect between the statue’s academically accepted date of origin and the truth staring him in the face. Upon careful inspection, Schoch realized the Sphinx survived intensely wet weather conditions that stand in stark contrast to the now hyper-arid conditions of the Sahara Desert. 

Schoch concluded that academia had determined the Sphinx’s age by overlooking signs of erosion due to heavy rainfall. The deluge that eroded the Sphinx was uncommon to the Egyptian plateau 5,000 years ago, but very common 10,000 to 12,000 years ago. For Schoch, this was an exciting find, but for mainstream science, it was met with derision and denial.

How Old is the Sphinx Really?

According to the research of Manichev and Parkhomenko, “large bodies of water” partially flooded the Sphinx monument creating “wave cut-out hollows on its vertical walls.” One erosion mark, in particular, appears in a large hollow of the Sphinx and corresponds to the water level of the early Pleistocene Age. From such evidence, geologists concluded that the statue was already standing on the Giza Plateau by that time.

Astoundingly, they also made the claim the Sphinx could be up to 800,000 years old, when the Mediterranean Sea extended all the way south into Egypt and onto the Giza Plateau. This would explain the statue’s distinct marks of erosion — caused by seawater lapping up against it over thousands of years.  

But Andrew Collins suggests that, while this rock formation may have been kissed by the Mediterranean Sea, the actual statue may have been carved out of it at a much later date. In short, the rock is ancient, but the statue is relatively less so. 

In 1991, Professor Schoch scientifically dated the Sphinx to thousands of years prior to the time of the Egyptian pharaohs, having been constructed at the end of the last ice age. This places the statue at a time when the Saharan region was much more humid, lush with plant and animal life, and subject to persistent rainfall. And despite constant criticism from mainstream archeologists, he’s held his ground, showing seismic data of the region which suggests the Sphinx’s origin may be more accurately placed at 10,000 B.C.E.

The Debate Heats Up 

Researcher Graham Hancock also weighs in on the Sphinx’s age noting the statue appears to have been exposed to about a thousand years of heavy rainfall. Because there was no rainfall in that area during the time of the pharaohs, or for thousands of years prior, Hancock says he believes the Sphinx needs to be placed more than 12,500 years back.

Egyptian-born writer and engineer Robert Bauval famously argued that there are no inscriptions on the Sphinx “either carved on a wall or a stela or written on the throngs of papyri that associates” the statue with the time period of the pharaohs of ancient Egypt as we know them.

As it has throughout its history, the Sphinx continues to be restored from constant erosion and remains an alluring and enigmatic landmark of the ancient past. But it seems clear that mainstream Egyptologists remain stalwarts in refusing to reevaluate these artifacts of antiquity, as doing so could mean changing the narrative and minds of academia worldwide. 

The City of Eridu is the Oldest on Earth, It's Largely Unexplored

The Ruins Of Eridu, oldest city in the world

Over the past decade, there have been a number of archeological revelations pushing back the timeline of human evolution and our ancient ancestors’ various diasporas. Initially, these discoveries elicit some resistance as archeologists bemoan the daunting prospect of rewriting the history books, though once enough evidence is presented to established institutions, a new chronology becomes accepted.

But this really only pertains to the era of human development that predates civilization — the epochs of our past in which we were merely hunter-gatherers and nomads roaming the savannahs. Try challenging the consensus timeline of human civilization and it’s likely you’ll be met with derision and rigidity.

Conversely, someone of an alternative persuasion may profess stories of ancient civilizations, such as Atlantis or Lemuria, with speculative mythology recounting a lost, golden age in human history that was surely responsible for building the pyramids and other wonders of the world. They point to the writings of Solon and Plato as evidence for these ancestors’ existence, which is exciting but difficult to corroborate without physical proof. 

Researcher Matt LaCroix seems to find himself somewhere in the middle of these two perspectives. While he says he’s fascinated by the Athenian clues detailing the destruction of Atlantis, he finds more compelling evidence in ancient Mesopotamia, or what academia already acknowledges as “the cradle of civilization.” 

It’s here we find the ruins of the most ancient city on Earth that we have physical proof of — the city of Eridu. This archaic metropolis is well-documented in historical texts covering ancient Sumer and the Babylonian empire, but there’s also a mythological component to Eridu that may imply human civilization is far older than we believe — significant orders of magnitude older.

Read Article

More In Ancient Origins

Our unique blend of yoga, meditation, personal transformation, and alternative healing content is designed for those seeking to not just enhance their physical, spiritual, and intellectual capabilities, but to fuse them in the knowledge that the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts.


Use the same account and membership for TV, desktop, and all mobile devices. Plus you can download videos to your device to watch offline later.

Desktop, laptop, tablet, phone devices with Gaia content on screens

Discover what Gaia has to offer.

Testing message will be here