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.
5The Great Sphinx of Giza is one of Egypt’s most famous monumentsCredit: Getty – Contributor5A top British historian has revealed a rare glimpse at a hidden entrance that runs below the statueCredit: Channel 5
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.
5Dr Hughes claims that chambers and tunnels below could reveal secrets about Ancient EgyptCredit: Channel 5
“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.”
5The Sphinx is located near to the Great Pyramid of GizaCredit: Blink Films5This is a statuette of Ancient Egyptian King Khufu, whose treasure may lurk below the SphinxCredit: Getty – Contributor
Here’s what you need to know…
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.