Did Nature Have a Hand in the Formation of the Great Sphinx?

December 16, 2023

Historians and archaeologists have, over centuries, explored the mysteries behind the Great Sphinx of Giza: What did it originally look like? What was it designed to represent? What was its original name? But less attention has been paid to a foundational, and controversial, question: What was the terrain the Ancient Egyptians came across when they began to build this instantly recognizable structure—and did these natural surroundings have a hand in its formation? “Our laboratory experiments showed that surprisingly Sphinx-like shapes can, in fact, come from materials being eroded by fast flows.”

Historians and archaeologists have, over centuries, explored the mysteries behind the Great Sphinx of Giza: What did it originally look like? What was it designed to represent? What was its original name? But less attention has been paid to a foundational, and controversial, question: What was the terrain the Ancient Egyptians came across when they began to build this instantly recognizable structure—and did these natural surroundings have a hand in its formation?

To address these questions, which have been raised on occasion by others, a team of New York University scientists replicated conditions that existed 4,500 years ago—when the Sphinx was built—to show how wind moved against rock formations in possibly first shaping one of the most recognizable statues in the world.

“Our findings offer a possible ‘origin story’ for how Sphinx-like formations can come about from erosion,” explains Leif Ristroph, an associate professor at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and the senior author of the study, which has been accepted for publication in the journal Physical Review Fluids. “Our laboratory experiments showed that surprisingly Sphinx-like shapes can, in fact, come from materials being eroded by fast flows.”

The source of this news is from New York University

Popular in Research

1

Feb 12, 2024

DTU Scientist Co-Authors International Paper on COVID-19

2

Feb 19, 2024

Two Simple Words May Help Decide Immigration Case Before the High Court

3

6 days ago

AI agents help explain other AI systems

4

Feb 13, 2024

AI innovation helps create authentic, pitch perfect vocals

5

Feb 13, 2024

Forty-Seven Vietnamese Scientists Honored Among the 100,000 Most-Cited Researchers

Biden defends strikes on Houthis, vows to respond again

2 days ago

IDF wipes out Hezbollah commander on embattled Lebanon streets in dramatic footage

2 days ago

Texas wildfires: At least 1 dead as large fires sweep through the state’s panhandle, including the second-largest blaze in state history

2 hours ago

Donald Trump advertises on MSNBC in New Hampshire to slow Haley

1 day ago

NYU Gallatin Galleries Presents ‘In Loving Memory,’ an exhibition of work by Khidr Joseph Feb. 1—29, 2024

3 days ago

NYU Wagner Labor Initiative Explores Role of State and Local Government in Workers’ Rights

3 days ago