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Giza: The Sphinx  (photo: Bechard, 1870s)

Fig.1: The Sphinx at Giza  (photo: Emile Bechard, 1870-1875).

This silver albumin print by Emile Bechard, taken in the early 1870s, provides a remarkably crisp image of the eroded sun god figure, 20 meters high, carved from a limestone outcrop whose layering is clearly visible. The head of the sphinx wears the garb of a pharaoh,  probably that of Cephren (2558-2522 BC), the third king of the Fourth Dynasty, whose tomb lay in the central position of the three largest pyramids at Giza. The Sphinx, which had its own temple, sat next to the Valley Temple of Cephren, at the starting point of the processional road to the pyramid.

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