John Anthony West
The Sphinx (at Giza) is considered by many to be considerably older than the usually accepted 3rd millennium BC. Its construction has been generally attributed to the Fourth Dynasty ruler Khafre, circa 2500 BC, whose head is believed to be currently represented on the Sphinx.
The controversial French scholar Rene Schwaller de Lubicz carried out an investigation of a number of Egypt’s ancient monuments. He was probably the first to remark on the apparent water erosion, on the Sphinx, as evidence of an earlier date for its construction than was previously accepted. He first voiced his views in 1949 and expanded his theories in 1957 . His work has now been translated into English(a).
A recent article(h) on the Giza for Humanity website reveals the work of Shérif El Morsi, an Egyptian researcher, who has documented evidence of ‘relatively recent’ incursion by seawater onto the Giza Plateau.
Michael Baigent has pointed out[141.167] that Dr. Zahi Hawass in 1992 ‘reported that analysis of the rear leg of the Sphinx proved the earliest level of masonry around the body dated instead from the Old Kingdom period , that is from about 2700 BC to 2160 BC. The pyramids were constructed in the middle part of this period…….. For if Khafre had built the Sphinx along with his pyramid around 2500 BC, and if repairs to its heavily eroded body were made before 2160 BC, then this severe erosion covered up by the facing stones must have occurred in only 340 years – perhaps less: an extremely unlikely event. In practical terms, given the extent and depth of the erosion, it seems impossible.’
John Anthony West was inspired by the writings of de Lubicz and enticed the American geologist Robert Schoch to inspect the Sphinx and give his professional assessment of the age of the monument. Schoch‘s conclusion was that the Sphinx had suffered extensive water erosion and should be dated no later than 7000 to 5000 BC. On a second trip to the Sphinx Schoch and West brought Thomas Dobecki, a geophysicist, to carry out additional tests. The results reinforced Schoch’s initial conclusions. However, Colin Reader, an English geologist, disputes Schoch’s conclusion(I) and explains why in an extensive 1997/9 paper(j).
When Schoch announced his findings they were greeted with hostile criticism from conventional Egyptologists. However, experts in Schoch’s discipline have agreed in growing numbers with his published views, but the debate is far from over. For an overview of the case for an early date follow this link(b).
One Egyptologist who postulated an early date for the Sphinx was Cairo-born Moustafa Gadalla, who concluded that “there is no other rational answer except that the water erosion occurred at the end of the last Ice Age c.15,000-10,000 BCE”(e).
The German researcher Klaus Aschenbrenner has added his support for an early date for the Sphinx. He claims that the water erosion was caused by acid rain resulting from a 7600BC asteroid impact postulated by Alexander Tollman.
These proposed early dates pale into insignificance when contrasted with the claims made by two Ukrainian researchers at a conference in Sofia in 2008, when they proposed a date of 800,000 years ago(n).
There is by now little doubt that the head of the Sphinx that we see today is quite different from its original size and shape. West had a New York City police artist compare the head of the Sphinx with a known head of Khafre and demonstrated that they had totally different facial structures. Comparative photographs are to be found in one of West’s books. A further anomaly is the fact that the head of the Sphinx is disproportionately smaller than the rest of the body suggesting a radical recarving of a larger head in antiquity. Robert Schoch has an interesting article(c) on his website, written by his colleague, Dr. Colette Dowell, regarding the shape of the Sphinx’s head. Colin Reader, who disagrees with Schoch’s dating of the Sphinx does, however, share his view regarding the size of the Sphinx’s head(l), an opinion that is also held by historical architect, Dr Jonathan Foyle(k).
The late Alan Alford argued that the commonly accepted idea that the Sphinx represents a lion may be incorrect and that in fact it is a model of a dog, possibly intended as an image of Anubis the divine guardian of the Earth and the Underworld. This idea was recently endorsed and investigated extensively in a fascinating book by Robert Temple, who has also pointed out(m) other anomalies with the shape of the Sphinx apart from the size of the head.
Bassam el Shamma, an Egyptian Egyptologist, has recently promoted the idea of the previous existence of a second sphinx on the Giza Plateau. His theory, based on a range of evidence, is outlined on the Atlantis Online website(d). The idea of a second Sphink is also supported by Gerry Cannon and Joseph P. J. Westlake in a paper also available online(f). Cannon has co-authored a book(r) with Malcolm Hutton, entitled The Giza Plateau Secrets and a Second Sphinx Location Revealed, in which they expand on this idea.
Robert Bauval whose book, Secret Chamber, delves deeply into the subject of hidden chambers on the Giza Plateau and has excerpts available on the internet(p).
It should also be kept in mind that sphinxes were found in a number of other cultures particularly Mesopotamia (see image right). Further east in India we have the Purushamriga(q), while in Burma the sphinx is known as a Manussiha. Back in the Mediterranean many images of sphinxes have been found in Greece, where lately (2014) two sphinxes were recently found in a 300 BC tomb(g), each weighing about 1.5 tons. However, in my opinion, the claim(o) of a huge sphinx in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains is nothing more than a case of mistaken identity, a good example of pareidolia.
Closer to home the Welsh Griffon (Gryphon) is clearly a local form of sphinx. Lee R. Kerr is the author of Griffin Quest – Investigating Atlantis, in which he sought support for the Minoan Hypothesis based on his pre-supposed link between griffins and Atlantis or as he puts it “whatever the Griffins mythological meaning, the Griffin also appears to tie Santorini to Crete, to Avaris, to Plato, and thus to Atlantis, more than any other single symbol.” I don’t see it.
(e) See: Archive 2937
(h) See: Archive 2635
(j) See: Archive 2646
(o) See: Archive 3003
(p) See: Archive 3598
Robert M. Schoch is a Yale scholar, geologist and palaeontologist. At the invitation of John Anthony West he agreed to inspect the Sphinx and offer an opinion of the nature of the erosion to be seen on it. He found that the cause of this erosion was due to precipitation rather than windblown sand. As Egypt has had an arid climate for many thousands of years, Dr Schoch reached the conclusion that at least the front of the Sphinx had been carved between 7000 and 5000 BC, when the climate had been considerably wetter.
In the same book, Voices of the Rocks, he endorsed (p.123) the conclusions of Mary Settegast who claimed that Plato’s Atlantis story was a reference to the Magdalenian culture that inhabited the coastal regions of the Western Mediterranean during the 9th millennium BC. Schoch devotes a chapter to the subject of Atlantis and interestingly lists (p.87) a number of sites to which the Greeks applied the appellation ‘Pillars of Heracles’ apart from the Strait of Gibraltar.
In his Voyages of the Pyramid Builders he reiterates his conviction “that Plato’s story is, at least in part, a fictionalized account of a great Mediterranean war at a time of intense climatic change between the tenth
and eight millennia BC.” A highly critical review of Schoch’s Book can be read online(n).
This 1990 declaration regarding the Sphinx generated an international reputation for Schoch. Such a controversial conclusion was obviously greeted warmly by the supporters of the 9,000 year old date for Atlantis allegedly given by the Egyptian priests to Solon. This accidental intervention by Schoch in the debate regarding the dating of Atlantis has unfortunately done nothing to resolve the issue. Fierce debate continues regarding the date of the Sphinx. However, there appears to be a gradual acceptance of Schoch’s views by other professional geologists such as David Coxhill. Another geologist, Colin Reader, while not accepting all of Schoch’s conclusions, believes that the Sphinx predates King Khufu, the father of Khafre, who has been traditionally accepted as the builder of the Sphinx, with the monument bearing his image.
It appears that Schoch’s experiences regarding the Sphinx has whetted Schoch’s appetite for prehistory as he has now written a further book, again with R.A. McNally about the origins of the pyramid builders. Unfortunately, he includes a reference to Ireland’s Newgrange as a form of ‘pyramid building’, an idea I reject since it shares neither form nor function with the Egyptian pyramids. Dr.Greg Little has written a very critical review of this book.
Schoch appears to be venturing further and further from his natural comfort zone of geology. In 2007 he wrote an article on Telepathy(d) and was later due to address the Electric Universe Conference in Las Vegas in 2012(c) and deliver a paper entitled The Catastrophic Termination of the Last Ice Age. In it, he will claim that that around 10,000 BC the Earth underwent ‘dramatic catastrophic changes’ as a result of ‘our unstable Sun erupting at the end of the last Ice Age, melting the extensive glaciers and triggering climate warming.*The full paper should be an interesting read. He continues to argue against the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis(r).*
His retreat from conventional science may be now complete as he delves into the strange world of lycanthropy (the study of werewolves)(o).
Schoch’s work is now promoted through his own website(b), which includes a wide range of articles. On it both he and his associate, Colette Dowell, have been very critical of the Bosnian pyramid claims of Semir Osmanagic following a visit there in 2006. However, in what appears to be an article(l) written in 2011 or 2012, Osmanagic responds with a scathing criticism of Schoch’s work.
Schoch has now turned his attention to the emergence and demise of very early civilisations, before that of dynastic Egypt or Sumeria. When he combined his early date for the Sphinx with other discoveries such as that of Nabta Playa and Göbekli Tepe and Gunung Padang(m), he concluded that the origins of civilisation go back much further than generally accepted. He then looked at the bigger and perhaps more important question of the cause of their collapse. In a 2009 special edition (N0.8) of New Dawn magazine he speculated on the possibility that the ending of such early civilisations was caused by the earth’s encounter with one or more asteroids or comets.
In his book(f), Forgotten Civilization, Schoch claims that coronal mass ejections from the sun around 9700 BC devastated our planet with electrical discharges, the triggering of seismic and volcanic activity as well as ending the Ice Age with its consequent floods. All this ‘eradicated the civilisation of the time and set humanity back thousands of years, only to re-emerge around 3500 BC with scattered memories and nascent abilities.’ In an article written(g) in March 2012, Schoch wrote about the ‘Carrington Event’ of 1859 which resulted from a massive solar event that year.
Schoch’s paper had the somewhat disturbing title of ‘Death Star’ and perhaps even more unsettling was the revelation in March 2019 that evidence of at least three major solar ‘proton attacks’ over the past 3,000 years. The suggestion being that these episodes are to be expected with some degree of regularity, which may create ever increasing disruption as our dependency on electricity expands. The recent report(q) indicates that the most powerful event identified so far, took place around 610 BC. Without power grids to damage at the time, we are unaware of what effect it had on the peoples of that time and I would hope that a review of the literature of that era might reveal some corroboration.
A video clip is from his recent Las Vegas lecture is now available on YouTube(h). His talk is based on an article(i) in the July-August edition of New Dawn magazine, which is now available online and will play a large part in his Forgotten Civilization. He highlights some fascinating similarities between the Rongorongo script of Easter Island, the Nasca petroglyphs and the plasma figures of Dr. Anthony L. Peratt together with their possible association with the ending of the last Ice Age.
For me, the most disturbing aspect of Schoch’s book is his apocalyptic vision of global catastrophes that he anticipates may turn the few survivors back into troglodytes!
However, Jason Colavito has reviewed Schoch’s claims relating to both the Rongorongo script(j) and Göbekli Tepe(k) and has found his ideas wanting. Colavito found further ammunition in the forthcoming book, Origins of the Sphinx, which Schoch co-authored with Robert Bauval, describing it as ‘a virtual rewriting of’ Keeper of Genesis(p). *In 2019, Schoch expanded further on his opinions regarding the importance of Göbekli Tepe with a claim that its builders possessed some level of literacy(s) , provoking further criticism from Colavito(r).*
René A. Schwaller de Lubicz (1887-1962) was a mathematician, Egyptologist and philosopher from Alsace in France. In his early years he studied Theosophy, which I suspect coloured his later thinking. It seems that he also dabbled with alchemy and has also been accused of having supported right-wing politics!
Schwaller spent fifteen years studying the ancient monuments of Egypt, concentrating on the Temple at Luxor studying its dimensions and its relationship to ancient mysticism. Schwaller’s stepdaughter, Lucie Lamy, personally gathered the numerous measurements at Luxor.
Schwaller questioned conventional views of Egypt’s cultural development, mathematical sophistication and religious symbolism. He published his findings in a monumental work that has now been translated into English(a). His work is difficult to read which may explain why he has had such a low profile.
His view of the ancients is perhaps summed up by one quote from him; “Can it really be said that before the day of our pretentious science, humanity was composed solely of imbeciles and the superstitious?”
Schwaller came to the attention of a wider audience when John Anthony West highlighted his comments on the evidence of water erosion on the Sphinx that indicated a much greater age for the structure than generally accepted. West followed up Schwaller’s observations with a study of the Sphinx by the geologist Robert Schoch whose report started one of the greatest controversies in modern Egyptology.
A recent report(b) found on a number of sites, by Shérif El Morsi, an Egyptian researcher, documents evidence of a ‘relatively recent’ incursion by seawater onto the Giza Plateau.
Abydos, known locally as Umm el-Qa’ab, is a site in Upper Egypt that contains a variety of structures including the Osirion, which is alleged to be burial-place of Osiris, the Egyptian deity who was the father of Horus and the brother and husband of Isis. It was discovered in 1901/2 by Sir William Flinders Petrie (1853-1942) and Margaret Alice Murray (1863-1963)(c). The Osirion (Osireion) has a number of unusual features that have led some, such as John Anthony West(a) to conclude that it is from a much earlier period than the adjacent Temple of Seti I.
This view is based on at least three observations.
(i) The foundations of the Osirion are much lower than those of the Temple of Seti, a feature that would have been totally unprecedented. It is more likely that structure was originally designed to be built at ground level in a conventional manner. However, after construction, the ground level rose over succeeding years with the deposits of silt from the annual inundation by the Nile. Consequently, when the adjacent Temple of Seti was built, a considerable number of years later, it was erected on much higher ground beside a buried Osirion.
(ii) The Temple of Seti has an unusual unique outline being ‘L’ shaped instead of having the usual rectangular form. This would seem to suggest that during the construction of the temple, the builders discovered the buried Osirion and had to alter the original design.
(iii) For some, the most compelling reason for dating the Osirion differently to Seti’s Temple is that stylistically the structure is totally at variance with anything else from Seti’s era.
In 1995, Graham Hancock drew attention to this difference in style and in a 2019 article, Freddy Silva also commented on this incongruity(h)(k), but notes that while the Osirion at first sight does not appear to have any obvious astronomical alignment, “only in the epoch of 10,000 BC do connections begin emerge, for the constellation Cygnus appears in full upright ascent over the horizon in conjunction with the axis of the temple, the entrance framing its brightest star, Deneb.”
Silva added that the Osirion “represents a complete departure from standard temple design. However, a geological appraisal contradicts this opinion. In ancient times the level of the Nile was fifty feet lower than today, its course seven miles closer to and beside the Osirion. When North Africa was subjected to major flooding between 10,500-8000 BC, layers of Nile silt gradually compacted and rose inch by inch until they surrounded and covered the Osirion. In other words, the temple was originally a freestanding feature on the floodplain.”
For my part, the apparent absence of contemporary hieroglyphics in the Osirion seems to suggest a preliterate period for its construction. The Valley Temple and the Sphinx Temple at Giza show similiar construction techniques and are also devoid of inscriptions. As I see it, there is no unequivocal evidence on offer to demonstrate that the Osirion could not be much earlier than the nearby Seti Temple. Therefore, I would urge caution before hastily dismissing Hancock, Silva and others regarding this matter.
>The conventional view that Seti I was responsible for the building of both the Temple and the Osireion is expressed in a well-illustrated paper by Keith Hamilton on the Academia.edu website(j).<
This suggestion of an earlier date, such as in Ralph Ellis’ Thoth, the Architect of the Universe, has added weight to the more general claim that other Egyptian monuments such as the Sphinx and some of the lower courses of the Great Pyramid are also from a predynastic era. This is interpreted by some as evidence of an early civilisation that might be more in keeping with 9600 BC date in the story of Atlantis told to Solon by the Egyptian priests at Sais.
A sceptic’s view of the claimed early date for the Osirion can be read online(d).
Klaus H. Aschenbrenner has produced an Internet article, Giza and Abydos: The Keys to Atlantis, unfortunately in German only, which bravely promotes the idea of an 11th millennium BC date for parts of both Giza and Abydos.
Hieroglyphics in the Temple of Seti at Abydos have also been seized upon by proponents of ancient technology existing in prehistoric times and possible links to a hi-tech Atlantis. These carvings suggest the outline of a helicopter and a submarine! A refutation of this interpretation, by Margaret Morris(b) and others(e)(f) has demonstrated that the carvings have been reworked and that some of the plaster infill had deteriorated. Furthermore, there is clear evidence that images of the hieroglyphics circulating on the internet were digitally ‘tidied up’.
>Wayne James Howson offers some radical ideas concerning the Osireion in a 400-page book available on the Academia.edu website(l). Howson was influenced by the work of Jim Westerman(m).<
In November 2016, it was announced that a city was unearthed not far from the Abydos temples, where “it is believed the city was home to important officials and tomb builders and would have flourished during early-era ancient Egyptian times.(g)“
(b) See Archive 2727