Archaeologists discover buried wall around the Sphinx

Archaeologists excavating at the Sphinx have discovered a 3,400 year-old wall around the famous monument.

The wall was built by the pharaoh Thutmose IV (reigned c. 1401-1391 BC) who had a dream in which the Sphinx told him it was choking on sand. The Sphinx itself was probably built during the reign of the pharaoh Khafra (c. 2558-2532 BC), who also built one of the nearby pyramids at Giza.

The archaeologists also found part of a settlement believed to have been for priests tending the cult of Khafra. Egyptian pharaohs were worshiped as gods and had temples dedicated to them. Some Roman Emperors also had mortuary cults and temples.

Now a modern wall is going up around Giza. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the number one tourist draw in the country, the Supreme Council of Egypt wants to keep away artifact hunters as well as the pushy touts who are one of the few downsides to a trip to Egypt.

[Photo courtesy LadyExpat via Gadling’s flickr pool]