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MUFONET-BBS GROUP - MUTUAL UFO NETWORK ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ARCHAEOLOGY NEWS - WIRE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 旼컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴커 =START= XMT: 20:49 Fri Feb 07 EXP: 21:00 Fri Feb 14 쿗IKE SANDS THROUGH THE HOURGLASS, SO ARE THE DAYS OF THE 쿞PHINX 쿎HICAGO (FEB. 7) UPI - Egyptians revere it, tourists flock 퀃o it, archaeologists ponder it. But just how old is the 쿞phinx? 쿘ost Egyptologists attribute the carving to the Old Kingdom 쿛haraoh Khafre in 2500 B.C. That's also the conclusion of 쿘ark Lehner of the University of Chicago, who spent five 퀉ears of field work on the statue in 1978-83. 쿓owever, a new hypothesis is stirring up lots of sand in 쿐gyptology circles. Dr. Robert Schoch of the College of 쿍asic Studies at Boston University suggests the core body of 퀃he Sphinx actually dates back to 5000 B.C., the pre- 쿭ynastic period in Egypt. 쿞choch debated his findings Friday at the 158th meeting of 퀃he American Association for the Advancement of Science, 퀇hich continues through Tuesday. 쿚n Schoch's side was Dr. Thomas Dobecki, a seismologist from 쿘cBride- Ratcliff and Associates Inc. of Houston, who 쿬onducted seismic surveys in April 1991 that indicate 퀂ubsurface weathering in the Sphinx enclosure were not 퀅niform. This would suggest, Schoch said, that the entire 쿞phinx ditch was not excavated at one time. 쿞choch said if the entire statue were carved out of living 퀁ock at one time, the limestone surrounding it would be 쿮xpected to show the same depth of subsurface weathering. 쿍ut it doesn't. ''I think the principle difference here is that what Dr. 쿞choch is saying is here is the (part of the) Sphinx that's 퀇eathered and here is this Old Kingdom tomb that's not, all 쿬arved out of the same layer (of rock),'' Lehner said. ''And we are saying, no, those are two different layers that 퀇eathered at different rates. It all comes down to that.'' 쿌lso on Lehner's side of the debate was Dr. K. Lai Gauri of 퀃he Department of Geology of the University of Louisville, 퀇ho argued one cannot determine the age of the Sphinx on the 쿫asis of deterioration or weathering. ''We do not know the age of the Sphinx,'' said Gauri, who 퀇as more concerned in his studies with preserving the giant 쿹ion-headed statue. ''I never studied it with respect to 쿪ge. It never occurred to me.'' 쿗ehner, who has spent 20 years studying the Sphinx, said 쿐gyptologists will not welcome Schoch's findings. ''I suppose I'm a little defensive about it,'' Lehner said. ''You will find a defensiveness in Egyptology in general. 쿛art of the problem is that we're given the task 쿬ontinuously of saying 'how do you know the Sphinx is that 쿽ld?' We don't know it by any direct zap that gives us a 퀂ign. ''I'm all for this (Schoch study),'' Lehner said. ''But what 퀇e have to do basically is demonstrate how we pursue our 퀂cience, how we date things, how we have layers of certain 퀃ypes. We have layers from Old Kingdom. We can date carbon 쿯rom that layer.'' 쿗ehner's complaint with Schoch's hypothesis is that he 쿬reated a completely new, previously unknown culture that 쿫uilt the core of the Great Sphinx. Yet Schoch has found 쿻othing to support this culture. Somebody had to build it. 쿔t just didn't grow out of the Sahara. ''We have a problem if we make a statement that implies a 쿬ivilization for which there's not a single fact to support 쿶t,'' said Lehner, who has uncovered artifacts that support 퀃he Old Kingdom theory. 쿔n his paper, Schoch said the Great Sphinx may not have 쿹ooked like it does now when he claims it was first carved 쿶n 5000 B.C. Special attention seems to have been paid to it 쿾eriodically, and he claims the first historical personage 퀃o excavate and restore the statue may have been Pharaoh 쿖hafre in 2500 BC. Schoch said the work was probably linked 퀃o the pyramid building carried out on the Giza Plateau. ''During these times,'' Schoch writes of the various 퀁estorations, ''the contemporary ruler often had the Great 쿞phinx excavated from the sands that quickly fill its hollow 쿶f left unattended, and after each re-excavation of the 쿞phinx repair blocks might be mortared to the weathered body 쿶n an attempt to restore the original outlines of the 퀂tatue.'' 쿌ctually, Lehner said, the Sphinx is one big rock with 쿭ifferent layers running through it which are the natural 쿹ayers of the Giza Plateau. 쿒auri said the weathering which Schoch refers to could have 쿫een achieved in a short time, perhaps during the time span 쿽f a single generation. Any water-related deterioration was 쿾robably caused by the humidity found in the desert sand 퀇hen the Sphinx was buried, Gauri said. 쿟he present weathering, he said, is due to its exposure to 퀃he surface in 1890-1910 when the sand that covered the 쿮ntire body was removed. 쿞choch said if funding is found, his study will continue. 쿓e's still convinced. ''On the one hand,'' Schoch said, ''you can say 'is it valid 퀃o compare things within the same structure, is it valid to 쿬ompare things within 10 miles?' You're looking at different 퀂cales, different contexts. ''It's a lot of different little pieces of evidence. It's 쿻ot any one alone - the sum total of them makes sense,'' 쿞choch said. ''There's something going on here and I think 퀃he base, the core of the Sphinx does go back earlier.'' =END=


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