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Sphinx Fragment Found in Israel
July 10, 2013

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An archaeological dig in Israel has turned up an artifact and a riddle. The artifact is the feet of Egyptian sphinx. The riddle is how the feet got there.

The feet aren't complete. Rather, the archaeologists found large fragments of feet, in Hazor, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site near the Sea of Galilee. Further, an inscription between the paws includes the name of a pyramid-building king, Menkaure.

Historians know that Menkaure ruled Egypt for about 20 years during the 4th dynasty, starting about 2530 B.C. He was one of the last king to order pyramids built on the Giza plain. But historians don't think that the Egyptians and Israelis had much contact with each other during Menkaure's reign, so it's a bit of a mystery when the sphinx, clearly Egyptian-made, was taken to Israel. It is likely that the sphinx in larger form made it way to Hazor a few centuries later, when the initially Canaanite city was on the main trade route between Babylon and Egypt. Hazor was ravaged in the 13th Century B.C. The sphinx fragment was found near other artifacts that date to that period.

Archaeologists indicated that the recent find was the first part of a sphinx unearthed in Israel and the first part of a sphinx found to include Menkaure's name.

The Pyramid of Menkaure is the smallest of the three great pyramids at Giza and was flanked by three smaller pyramids, all dedicated to Menkaure, the son of Khafra and grandson of Khufu, builder of the Great Pyramid.

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