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The smiling sphinx unearthed in Egypt. Source: Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

Rare Smiling Sphinx Statue Found in Egypt and it May Depict Emperor Claudius


Archaeologists in southern Egypt have uncovered a remarkable miniature sphinx statue, sporting a rare feature of a smiling face with two dimples. The artifact was found near the Hathor Temple in a tomb with two levels and is believed to potentially represent the Roman Emperor Claudius, making it a significant find. The unusual smiling expression on the sphinx is not typically found in ancient Egyptian art, adding to the intrigue and mystery surrounding the discovery.

In addition, researchers also found a Roman stele (stone slab) written in demotic and hieroglyphic scripts next to the sphinx. Once fully deciphered, the stele may reveal the identity of the sculpted ruler, according to a press release by Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. They also discovered a two-layer platform and a mud-brick basin from the Byzantine era. Emperor Claudius is a likely option as he extended Rome’s rule into North Africa between 41 and 54 AD, which coincides with the dating of these finds.

The smiling sphinx in situ, near the Temple of Dendera in Egypt. Source: Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism

The smiling sphinx in situ, near the Temple of Dendera in Egypt. Source: Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism

The Roman stela found next to the sphinx. Source: Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism

The Roman stela found next to the sphinx. Source: Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism

The Hathor Temple and the Dendera Zodiac

The Hathor Temple, which is within the Dendera Temple Complex in Qena province, located about 450 kilometers (280 miles) south of Cairo, is one of Egypt's best-preserved ancient sites. The smiling sphinx and artifacts were discovered within the walls of the complex.

The Hathor temple was constructed during the Ptolemaic dynasty, which ruled Egypt from 305 BC to 30 BC. It was an important pilgrimage site in ancient Egypt, and many visitors would come to the temple to seek the goddess's blessings and perform rituals. Hathor was a complex deity, worshipped as the goddess of love, beauty, fertility, music, and dance. She was also associated with motherhood, childbirth, and the sky.

The temple is home to the Dendera Zodiac, a celestial map that has been on display at the Louvre in Paris since 1922. The Dendera Zodiac is one of the earliest known representations of the constellations and is considered to be an important document in the history of astronomy. It shows the twelve zodiac signs, as well as other astronomical features such as the planets, the Milky Way, and the constellations of Orion and Sirius.

Temple of Hathor, Dendera (Public Domain)

Temple of Hathor, Dendera (Public Domain)

Egypt’s Recent Discoveries to Boost Tourism

Egypt has been unveiling major archaeological finds in recent months, primarily in the Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo, but also in Giza and Luxor. Just last week, the antiquities ministry announced the discovery of a hidden nine-meter passage inside the Great Pyramid of Giza, which could lead to the burial chamber of pharaoh Khufu.

In January, archaeologists in Luxor uncovered an 1,800-year-old complete residential city from the Roman era. These discoveries have been seen by some experts as having more political and economic significance than scientific, reports the Associated Press.

Egypt is relying on tourism to revive its vital tourism industry, which has suffered a severe economic crisis, severely dependent on foreign tourism. The government aims to draw in 30 million tourists per year by 2028, up from 13 million before the pandemic.

The discovery of the sphinx statue near the Hathor Temple is another significant find for Egyptian archaeologists. With ongoing excavations in various parts of the country, Egypt's rich history continues to be uncovered. These archaeological finds not only have scientific importance but also economic significance for the country's vital tourism industry.

Top image: The smiling sphinx unearthed in Egypt. Source: Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

By Sahir Pandey


AP. 2023. Sphinx-like statue and shrine discovered in southern Egypt.

McGarvey, E. 2023. Egypt archaeology: Dig unearths smiling mini-sphinx which may represent Claudius. Available at:

Tabikha, K. 2023. Roman-era cabin and royal sphinx statue uncovered in southern Egypt. Available at:



Pete Wagner's picture

We find a commonality in the facial appearance of nearly all the ancient statues and busts, many of which are attributed to some Romans leader who may or may not have existed.  Ancient Rome left us with no paintings, just a few murals and the bronze and marble heads that we have become familiar with.  I would theorize that these are pre-Ice Age objects, all found in rubble, and they will keep finding them the more they dig.  Ancient Rome, with its storied emperors, becomes the dubious catch-all for explaining the finds.  If you ponder it, and do some research, like me, you probably come away thinking it’s all false narrative (coming out of Pliny or other probable liars of their day, whatever day it was when they wrote it because it was needed for the narrative), and a coverup of the tragedy that happened 115k BC, adding the zero back to Plato’s Atlantis timeline - which has it then correlate perfectly with the sudden emergence of the Ice Age.  

This new Sphinx head, which was found buried deep in the sand, shows damage associated with an explosion or earthquake.  The nose is NOT hammered off, like many were by angry vandals who descended upon the ruins much later, but just chipped a bit in some places.  The familiar shape of the head, designed to have (probably golden) hair affixed to it to give it a more life-like, or god-like appearance.  Of course, the hair didn’t survive all those tens of thousands of years.

As an aside, note these two heads:  

This one attributed to Claudius –

This one attributed to Augustus –

Above would be a good way to have us believe Claudius and Augustus existed and looked like that (probably just taking the appearance of common props in an Atlantean-era garden) but there’s no real evidence for it.  The most ancient murals of Italy/Pompeii (called Roman) look like this: We don’t see any of these Roman emporers in those old murals.  They are exclusively ancient Greek/Atlantean golden age scenes.  

Of course, the house of cards, that is the epic fiction of modern archaeology, leans more and more with every new card precariously placed on it.

Nobody gets paid to tell the truth.

Sahir's picture


I am a graduate of History from the University of Delhi, and a graduate of Law, from Jindal University, Sonepat. During my study of history, I developed a great interest in post-colonial studies, with a focus on Latin America. I... Read More

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