The Sphinx is carved from the Mokkatam Formation of the Giza Plateau's natural limestone. Carbonate mud petrified over millions of years to form the strata from which the pyramid builders mined limestone pieces and sculpted the Sphinx. The Sphinx, like the Pyramids, was probably also painted with white pigment and decorated with many other colors.
In addition to being used for monuments, stone was also employed for tools, weapons, and houses. The Egyptians built their great cities out of the plentiful materials available on land and at sea. Using stones as building material allowed them to construct large structures with little effort or cost.
They first cleared the vegetation from around the rocks they wanted to use and then cut the trees down with axes or saws. The stumps were then exposed to the sun for a few months until the wood had dried out. Finally, the rock was broken away using various tools such as axes, adzes, and hammers.
Some rocks are too big to be moved around by hand; in these cases, animals were used for transport. Animals were tied up next to a tree with a rope attached to its collar. Then the animal was given an order to go. If it didn't move after being told several times, someone came and drove it away.
As the water withdrew, a tiny lagoon emerged atop a shoal and coral reef in what is now the Plateau's south-southeast corner. The resulting combination of rock and bone remains today as an iconic image of Egypt.
The ancient Egyptians made extensive use of stone for building their cities and monuments. They used the hard stones available in large quantities in the desert and also imported sandstone and marble for larger projects. The Egyptians built with such precision and accuracy that even today their work survives in many cases where more modern building materials have been used instead.
Limestone is the name given to calcium carbonate (CaCO3), the principal ingredient of chalk and plaster. It is a soft white mineral that occurs in massive forms similar to granite or gneiss. One ton of limestone will produce about two tons of calcium carbonate.
Calcium carbonate has a high capacity to take on acidity due to the presence of organic material within the stone. This means that the Sphinx was likely exposed to humidity and rain while it was being carved out of a mountain side. The bones in its body were probably used as tools to break up the limestone deposit before they too were consumed by bacteria within the stone.
The Great Sphinx of Giza, often known as the Sphinx of Giza or just the Sphinx, is a limestone statue depicting a reclining sphinx, a mythological monster. The Sphinx's visage is widely assumed to depict Pharaoh Khafre. However, this is disputed by some scholars who believe it may also represent his son King Menkaura.
The statue is nearly 5 meters (16 ft) high and was originally covered in greenish-black granite dust until cleaned in 1877 by French archaeologists. It sits on the west bank of the Nile River, near the village of Giza, about 15 miles (24 km) north of Cairo. The Sphinx is one of the best-known symbols of Egypt.
It was built around 2,550 years ago as part of the great pyramid complex at Giza. The sphinx is nearly life-size and stands on four lion paws. Its tail curls over the back of its paw. The body is bent at the waist with the chest exposed. The head faces east toward the rising sun while the mouth is open in a silent roar. The eyes are made up of two black stones set in a white plaster socket.
The purpose of the sphinx is not clear. Some have suggested that it was used as a guardian deity or protector spirit. Others think it might have been used as a tomb monument.
The Sphinx was carved from a single block of limestone uncovered when miners dug a horseshoe-shaped quarry on the Giza plateau, rather than piece by piece. It is one of the world's largest and oldest monolithic monuments, at around 66 feet tall and 240 feet long. It is also thought to be one of the most powerful images of Amenhotep III, the king who commissioned it.
The Sphinx has been described as "a lion skin draped over a stone pillar." But this description does not do it justice. The Sphinx is more than just an image: it is a statue that has been taken into life. Its body is made of smooth, well-fitted stones that were probably dragged from nearby quarries and placed in their current position with great care and skill. In addition to its massiveness, the sphinx also boasts the longest canine tooth of any mammal, measuring 3.4 inches (8.5 cm).
It is generally agreed that the sphinx commemorates a victory of King Amenhotep III over another kingdom, perhaps Libya or Syria. However, some scholars believe that it depicts a hippo or leopard instead because there are similarities between the features of these animals and those of Amenhotep III's father, Akhenaten.
In addition to being used as a monument to commemorate victories, the sphinx may have served other purposes while it was still under construction.