Top 5 Facts: The Great Sphinx

"Excuse me! Has anyone seen a nose lying around anywhere?"

1. The forgotten Sphinx – Though Giza is known for its hieroglyphic recounting of history dating back 4,500 years, not a single inscription from this period references the Sphinx.

2. My Sphinx has no nose – There are many theories as to what happened to the Sphinx’s misplaced hooter. A pervasive but inaccurate rumour is that Napoleon’s soldiers blasted it off with a cannon.

3. Watery controversy – Radiocarbon dating shows the Sahara wasn’t always dry. Water erosion on the Sphinx enclosure could be consistent with that caused by rainfall that would predate the 2500 BCE construction period.

4. Sphinx of many colours – It’s thought that, due to evidence of red pigment on the Sphinx’s face plus blue and yellow residue elsewhere, at some point the statue may have been multicoloured.

5. The future – Human activity has led to a rise in the local water table, which is seeping into the statue’s porous limestone, affecting structural integrity. Pumps are in place to try and mitigate this.