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.

Our free eBook Ten Top Biblical Archaeology Discoveries brings together the exciting worlds of archaeology and the Bible! Learn the fascinating insights gained from artifacts and ruins, like the Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem, where the Gospel of John says Jesus miraculously restored the sight of the blind man, and the Tel Dan inscription—the first historical evidence of King David outside the Bible.

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.


More on Tel Hazor in Bible History Daily:

Hazor Excavations’ Amnon Ben-Tor Reveals Who Conquered Biblical Canaanites

Where Are the Royal Archives at Tel Hazor?

Crafty Israelites: Iron Age Crafts at Tel Hazor

Scorched Wheat May Provide Answers on the Destruction of Canaanite Tel Hazor

In Hazor: Canaanite Metropolis, Israelite City, a popular summary of 30 excavation seasons by long-time Hazor dig director Amnon Ben-Tor, discover ancient Hazor’s remarkable history.


More on Tel Hazor in the BAS Library:

Sharon Zuckerman, “Where Is the Hazor Archive Buried?” Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 2006.

Amnon Ben-Tor, “Who Destroyed Canaanite Hazor?” Biblical Archaeology Review, July/August 2013.

Amnon Ben-Tor, “Excavating Hazor, Part One: Solomon’s City Rises from the Ashes,” Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 1999.

Amnon Ben-Tor and Maria Teresa Rubiato, “Excavating Hazor, Part Two: Did the Israelites Destroy the Canaanite City?” Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June 1999.


Posted in News, Artifacts and the Bible, Biblical Archaeology Sites.

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Add Your Comments

4 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

  • Brent says

    In the Bible Hazor was one of the cities destroyed by Joshua as the Israelites invaded Canaanite territory. Previous finds at Hazor include other small Egyptian artifacts – Egyptian axe. My date for Joshua crossing over the Jordan is c.1418 BC. When the Israelites left Egypt they took Egyptian artifacts and weapons with them. So it is not surprising to find some of these Egyptian artifacts at Hazor, although I doubt that they would have lugged a five foot statue of a deceased Pharaoh with them. Some commentators like James Cameron have previously identified the Hyksos as the Israelites. To conclude that the Hyksos took this statue with them bears the same problem, why?

  • 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.


  • Some HTML is OK

    or, reply to this post via trackback.

Send this to a friend

Hello! Your friend thought you might be interested in reading this post from https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org:
Rare Egyptian Sphinx Fragment Discovered at Hazor!
Here is the link: https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-artifacts/artifacts-and-the-bible/rare-egyptian-sphinx-fragment-discovered-at-hazor/
Enter Your Log In Credentials...

Change Password