Rare Egyptian Sphinx Fragment Discovered at Hazor

A sphinx statue fragment was recently discovered during excavations at Hazor. The hieroglyphic inscription between the front legs of the sphinx ties the statue to the Egyptian king Menkaure (c. 2500 B.C.), one of the builders of the famed Giza pyramids. Photo courtesy Prof. Amnon Ben-Tor and Dr. Sharon Zuckerman.

Excavators at the prominent Biblical site of Hazor in northern Israel have discovered part of a sphinx belonging to one of the pyramid-building pharaohs. All that remains of the small granite statue is the base holding the paws and part of the forearms of the sphinx. A hieroglyphic inscription between the front legs bears the name of the Egyptian king Menkaure, who ruled in the IVth Dynasty (c. 2500 B.C.) and was one of the builders of the famed Giza pyramids. According to Hazor excavators Amnon Ben-Tor and Sharon Zuckerman, both of the Hebrew University, no other sphinx belonging to Menkaure has been found anywhere in the world, including Egypt. Even more incredibly, this is the only piece of royal sphinx sculpture ever found in the Levant. The excavators estimate that the entire statue measured 5 feet long and 1.5 feet high.

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The sphinx, a mythical half-lion, half-man creature, was discovered at the entrance to the city palace in a 13th-century B.C. destruction layer. The excavators believe it is unlikely that King Menkaure sent the sphinx to Hazor, since there is no record of a relationship between Egypt and the southern Levant during his reign. The statue may have been brought to Hazor as plunder by the Hyksos, a dynasty of kings from Canaan who ruled Lower Egypt in the late 17th and early 16th centuries, or perhaps slightly later as a gift from a New Kingdom Egyptian ruler. Hazor, the once-powerful Canaanite city described in the Book of Joshua as “the head of all those kingdoms,” was destroyed in the 13th century.

Read more about the sphinx discovered at Hazor.

 


 

BAS Library Members: For more about the Hazor excavations and Amnon Ben-Tor’s theory about the demise of the Biblical Canaanites, read Amnon Ben-Tor, “Who Destroyed Canaanite Hazor?” as it appears in the July/August 2013 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

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  1. Kurt says

    You’ve probably heard of “the Egyptian Sphinx mystery”?

    Jonathan Gray shares some fascinating secrets about its true age.

    So how old is the Sphinx – really?

    On the plateau of Giza west of Cairo, Egypt, sits the Great Sphinx of Giza, a statue 240 feet long, with a lion’s body and a human head wearing the headdress of the Pharaohs.

    http://beforeitsnews.com/beyond-science/2014/01/the-true-age-of-the-sphinx-and-did-the-earths-axis-tilt-violently-in-2345-bc-2444904.html

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Report from Jerusalem #52, 18th July 2013 - AIAS linked to this post on July 23, 2013

    [...] the ongoing excavations at Hazor, in northern Israel, the fore section of a royal sphinx has been uncovered. The large fragment is [...]

  2. Top 10 Archaeological Finds in 2013 | When Was Jesus Born? New information is shocking! linked to this post on January 9, 2014

    [...] Rare Egyptian Sphinx Fragment Discovered at HazorFor more on the Hazor excavations, read the BibleJefferson's Bible. Read more … » History Daily feature Hazor Excavations’ Amnon Ben-Tor Reveals Who Conquered Biblical Canaanites. [...]


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