The Great Sphinx of Giza is a limestone statue of a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human. It stands within the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile and is said to have been built to protect Pharaoh Khafre. It is the oldest known monumental sculpture in Egypt and is believed to have been designed, sculpted, and constructed by ancient Egyptians of the Old Kingdom, roughly 4,500 years ago.
He said: “The Sphinx we see today was allegedly carved some 4,500 years ago, but there is an alternative view that the origins of the Sphinx are much more ancient.
“Egyptologist R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz spent over a decade in Egypt studying the Luxor temple.
“It wasn’t until my mentor, the late great John Anthony West came along and realised the implications of Schwaller’s casual observation.”
Mr West was an American author, lecturer, guide and a proponent of the Sphinx water erosion hypothesis – a fringe claim contending that the main type of weathering evident on the enclosure walls of the Great Sphinx was caused by prolonged and extensive rainfall.
Mr West, who passed away in 2018, previously said: “I realised this was a game-changer.
“This was really a big deal because it meant that everything about ancient history has to be completely rethought.”
The documentary went on to explain how the theory developed.
The 42-year-old added: “Egypt does experience rain, the land receives between two and four inches of rain per year, but it hasn’t experienced rainfall that could have caused such damage in at least five to six thousand years.
“So if the Sphinx was eroded by water, this means it would have to be much older than what we are told. Consequently, history would have to be rewritten.
“John realised that this claim was a matter of geology, therefore it could be scientific, but first he would need a qualified geologist.
“Eventually, a mutual friend at Boston University introduced John to his geologist colleague – Dr Robert Schoch.
“The two investigated the Sphinx, first during an informal trip in 1990, then again in April 1991 as part of an official survey.”
During a speech in 2019, Dr Schoch supported the theory.
He said: “The Sphinx is not from 2500BC, it is – my best date – at least 10,000BC.
“Basically it’s water erosion on the walls of the Sphinx enclosure, on the Sphinx and this cannot have occurred during the hyper-air conditions of the Sahara over the last 5,000 years.
“It’s not Nile flooding, forget it, it doesn’t work geologically.
“We have wind erosion from the same period, but I hope you can see wind and rain erosion are very different.”
The documentary went on to explain why Dr Schoch’s statement added weight to the theory.
The narrator added: “Dr Schoch included that the weathering patterns are precipitation induced.
“In other words, rainwater was responsible for weathering the Sphinx, not flooding as originally thought.
“There is no question [for me] that rain precipitation cascading down caused the erosional features.”
But, the theory has drawn ardent criticism from leading Egyptologists.
Peter Green from the University of Texas previously drew attention to what he considered to be numerous problems with Mr West’s work.
This included unconscious prejudices, “wildly speculative” ideas and lack of scientific evidence, as well as a tendency towards conspiracy theories in lieu of orthodox Egyptology.
Leading archaeologist Mark Lehner has also disputed the analysis put forward by Dr Schoch.
He stated: “You don’t overthrow Egyptian history based on one phenomenon like a weathering profile, that is how pseudoscience is done, not real science.”
And historian Ronald Fritze has described Dr Schoch as a “pseudohistorical and pseudoscientific writer”.