In 1991, maverick Egyptologist John West – who had long claimed that Ancient Egyptian civilization was the inheritor of the lost culture of Atlantis – got together a team of American scientists led by geologist Robert Schoch to investigate apparent signs of water erosion on the sides of the Sphinx’s enclosure. Schoch’s team duly announced that the erosion could only have been caused by water, meaning the Sphinx was older than Egypt’s last known flood era back in 10,000–15,000 BC – several millennia before the date assigned to its creation by conventional Egyptology. Despite this evidence, most Egyptologists continue to believe that the Sphinx was built to honour Chephren; apart from anything else, a New Kingdom inscription on a stele in front of it bore Chepren’s name, and statues of the pharaoh have been uncovered in the neighbouring valley temple. The water erosion, they argue, can be explained by flooding from the Nile and severe storms in relatively recent times.

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