Archaeologists Discover Another Ancient Sphinx in Egypt

Archaeologists working at the Kom Ombo Temple in Egypt have discovered an ancient sandstone sphinx, the second sphinx discovered in the country this year. Experts believe the statue dates to the Ptolemaic era.

The new sandstone sphinx is excellently preserved and was found at the Kom Ombo temple in Aswan, the same location that two reliefs of Ptolemy V were discovered earlier this year. Archaeologists working at the site discovered the new sphinx while draining water at the temple, the artefact said to be 28cm (11in) wide and 38cm tall.

The Temple of Kom Ombo is an unusual double temple that was originally constructed during the era of Ptolemy VI, son of Ptolemy V. As a double temple, the site offers a unique combination of rooms and artefacts dedicated to two differing Gods, Sobek and Harris. The temple had additions made during the Roman period and much has unfortunately since been destroyed due to erosion from the Nile, earthquakes and thieves taking parts of the building for later projects.

The discovery is the latest in an exciting year for discovery in Egypt, other finds including two Middle Kingdom tombs discovered at the Beni Hassan necropolis and the infamous Black Sarcophagus found in Alexandria in July.

Just a month ago archaeologists discovered another sphinx in Luxor. Discovered between the temples of Karnak and Luxor during the construction of the new Al-Kabbash Road, the statue was said to have the body of a lion and the face of a man, the same as the famous Great Sphinx of Giza.

The Sphinx in it’s place of discovery at the Kom Ombo Temple in Aswan. Photo: Ministry of Antiquities

Egyptian officials are hopeful that this new discovery alongside the other impressive finds in 2018 will serve to boost tourism to the country. The Egyptian tourism industry has suffered greatly since the Arab Spring following successive waves of political violence and bad publicity. The United Nations observing that Egyptian tourism fell from 14 million travellers in 2010 to a low of 5.3 million in 2016.

Abdul Moneim Saeed, the head of Aswan’s antiquities department, says that further study will be carried out on the sphinx to discover its purpose before the relic is transferred to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation in Fustat for conservation and exhibition.

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