That Old “Second Sphinx” Chestnut Is Back – Is There or Is There Not A Hidden Sphinx?
A tourism official in Egypt has been ridiculed by his peers after claiming a second giant statue of the famous Sphinx awaits discovery. This supposed second sphinx is causing quite a stir amongst Egyptologists who argue that it is all just a hoax.
Putting the Second Sphinx Claims in Context
We will reverse into this story after I tell you a tale about UFOs. Perhaps nothing antagonizes career debunkers and skeptics more than when a supposed “expert” or “official” in any given field skips over to the perceived dark side. This happened in February 2021 after astrophysicist Avi Loeb, Director of the Harvard Astronomy Department, told the New Scientist that the space rock Oumuamua was “maybe a piece of alien technology.”
As almost the entire scientific community facepalmed, as they watched a U.S. icon of logic and reason dive down the scientific rabbit hole, Loeb doubled-down, telling Scientific American that “aliens have visited, and I am not kidding.” Loeb is now leading the Galileo Project , searching for “extraterrestrial technological signatures of Extraterrestrial Technological Civilizations (ETCs).”
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Returning to the story at hand, Reda Abdel Halim is the director of public relations for the Giza pyramids district at the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. Causing similar waves to Dr. Loeb in the U.S., Halim has told Cairo Live that he discovered “a statue in the pyramids area that is of similar size to the Sphinx.” In other words, he claims to have found a second sphinx.
Reda Abdel Halim has claimed that there is a second sphinx buried under the sand and that it is shaped like the Great Sphinx of Giza, pictured above. (witthaya / Adobe Stock)
Doubling-Down on Second Sphinx Claims
Abdel Halim, just like Loeb, has also doubled down, hard. It’s one thing to casually speculate that astounding archaeology awaits discovery beneath the Egyptian sands. But Halim has gone so far as to say that the second sphinx is “73 meters (246 ft) high, with a head 20.5 meters (67 ft) high, and hands extended over 15.5 meters (50.8 ft).” In other words, it is shaped like the Great Sphinx of Giza .
When the tourist official was pressed for evidence related to his dramatic claims, he was ready with an apparently dynamite reference, a “scientific study” no less. Supposedly undertaken by a team of experts from Egypt’s Zagazig University, Halim claimed that the archaeologists conducting the study had “confirmed the existence of this statue.” Now Halim has made waves for “rediscovering” the second sphinx statue once more.
Reda Abdel Halim, director of public relations for the Giza Pyramids district at the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has claimed that there is a second sphinx. (Facebook / Cairo24)
Birth of the Second Sphinx Theory?
What then does the greater archaeological community have to say about Abdel Halim’s incredible claim that a second sphinx is hidden under the sand? Well, that’s the thing, they say it is “incredible.” Very incredible in fact.
This idea, in its entirety, is nothing more than a “media fanfare” according to Zahi Hawass, the well-known former Minister of Antiquities. Hawass told Al-Monitor that the Great Sphinx of Giza “is unique in Egypt and the world.” He also said Halim’s reference to a study at the Zagazig University is also “false” and that nobody in Egyptological circles knows anything about the discovery of any such second sphinx.
At this stage of the story, it’s hard not to picture Halim with a shovel, in a pit, up to his neck. As hard as it might have been reading Dr. Hawass’s response to his claims, the enthusiastic Halim could have looked up humbly (from the pit) and said, “okay, I got carried away.”
When presented with such an uncomfortable situation, Halim could have chosen to climb out of the deepening rabbit hole. But Abdel Halim’s press return statement insisted the lost Sphinx featured on ancient writings carved into the original statue, but that they were “erased” to keep the second sphinx secret. A potential conspiracy theory was born.
Zahi Hawass on the left, one of the critics of the second sphinx claims, on a visit to the Great Sphinx of Giza with Barack Obama in 2009. ( Public domain )
The Skeptics Bombing Run of “Baseless” Second Sphinx Claims
In military terms: Dr. Zahi Hawass was first to engage with the “bogie” (Abdel Halim) who courageously survived the first dog fight. However, over the horizon, a conceptual Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, a long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber would bring shock and awe to the extraordinary claims of Halim.
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The bomber came in the form of Professor Mohammed Hamza, the former dean of the faculty of archeology at Cairo University. Putting the story to bed, Dr. Hamza told Al-Monitor that “any talk about the discovery of a new Sphinx is completely baseless.” Does that mean that this latest second sphinx claim is just another archaeological hoax?
It is perhaps worth noting that at the alleged site of the second sphinx another statue was discovered in the past. However, Dr. Halim said it has “nothing to do with the original Sphinx.” Furthermore, if you have been reading Ancient Origins news over the last two years you will understand that perhaps the greatest fact refuting the second sphinx claim is that news of such a discovery would have been all over the news. The Egyptian Antiquities Authority never fails to turn even the smallest discoveries into a story, never mind a second sphinx !
Top image: The Great Sphinx of Giza. Claims of a second sphinx are causing a stir in Egyptological circles. Source: Anton / Adobe Stock
By Ashley Cowie