SECRET chambers hidden below the Great Sphinx of Giza could lead to undiscovered treasures, a top historian has claimed.
Hopeful theories of lost loot buried below the Sphinx have been around for centuries, but archaeologists now want to dig deep and uncover the truth.
The world-famous dates back around 4,500 years, and sits next to the Great Pyramid of Giza – one of Egypt’s busiest tourist hotspots.
But we know surprisingly little about the statue, despite its age and huge interest from the public.
Now UK historian Dr Bettany Hughes OBE claims chambers below the statue could reveal hidden secrets, and point to possible treasure.
She said two chambers underneath the Sphinx could be worth excavating, speaking during her new Channel 5 show Egypt’s Greatest Treasures.
“Generations of Ancient Egyptians came to respect and fear this otherworldly creature, really believing that it had supernatural powers,” Dr Hughes said.
“And the fascination with the Sphinx shows no sign of letting up.
“Archaeologists are investigating under the statue because there are tantalising clues that the Sphinx sits right on top of an ancient network of chambers and tunnels.”
During the show, Dr Hughes explored a small hole at the base of the Sphinx usually hidden from view.
She said this deep hole near the tail is thought to be connected with a large chamber beyond.
But she admitted it was too early to say where the tunnel finishes.
However, Dr Hughes said the tunnels could be linked to Khufu, an ancient king of Egypt buried in the nearby pyramid.
“There’s actually another smaller [chamber] right at the front underneath the paws,” Dr Hughes said.
“The truth is, we have absolutely no idea what these were used for, but it’s a mystery that researchers are currently trying to solve.
“And some are hopeful that these hidden tunnels may lead us to new, undiscovered treasures.”
Dr Hughes also described the Sphinx as a “monumental guard dog, watching over the Pharaoh’s tomb”.
She added: “And now it’s the guardian of Ancient Egypt’s secrets.”
The Great Sphinx of Giza
Here's what you need to know…
- The Great Sphinx of Giza is an enormous limestone statue of a reclining sphinx
- A sphinx is a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human
- It faces directly from West to East and stands on the Giza Plateau in Egypt, near the Great Pyramid of Giza
- The Sphinx was cut from bedrock and measures 73 metres (240 feet) long from paw to tail
- It’s 20 metres (66 feet) high and 19 metres (62 feet) wide
- It is the oldest “monumental” sculpture in Egypt, and was believed to have been built between 2558 and 2532 BC
- Archaeologists are still unclear about exactly when it was built, who built it and why
- Some claim it was built for the Pharaoh Khafra, who was the son of Khufu
- There is evidence that it was excavated on several occasions in ancient times, including as far back as 1400 BC
- The Sphinx is one of Egypt’s most popular tourist attractions today
The existence of man-made chambers and tunnels below the Sphinx are debated.
American clairvoyant Edgar Cayce, who died in 1945, famously claimed that an ancient library was hidden below the statue.
This so-called Hall of Records documented Earth’s ancient past, but there is no evidence for existence – and the claim is widely discredited.
In 1998, Egypt’s Chief Director of the Supreme Council of Antiquities excavated below the main body of the Sphinx.
Zahi Hawass claims to have rediscovered access tunnels to several large and seemingly natural caves below the Sphinx.
No artefacts were uncovered, although Hawass says there was some evidence of earlier ancient excavations.
Hawass also admitted that there may be other unexplored cavities beneath the structure.
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Earlier this week, Tutankhamun’s “cursed” golden sarcophagus was pictured outside his tomb for the first time ever.
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Ancient Chinese people gave their babies coneheads by ‘moulding their skulls’ to show off how rich they were.
And, from headless vikings to ‘screaming’ mummies, here are some of the most gruesome ancient corpses ever found.
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