|The Sphinx: Secret out'
London, Dec. 14: Archaeologists, who are able to tell us who built the pyramids of ancient Egypt, have puzzled over the riddle of the Sphinx for generations.
The identity of the ruler who ordered the building of the 65-ft-high, 260-ft-long limestone half-human statue that has guarded the Giza Plateau for 4,500 years has been lost in the sands of time.
Now, following a 20-year re-examination of historical records and uncovering new evidence, Vassil Dobrev, a French Egyptologist, claims to have proved that the largest single stone statue on Earth is the work of a forgotten pharaoh.
The most popular theory of the origins of the Sphinx is that it was conceived by Khafre, a king of the Fourth Dynasty whose pyramid sits behind the statue.
However, in Secrets of the Sphinx, a television documentary, Dobrev says it was created by Djedefre, Khafre's half-brother and a son of Khufu, the builder of the Great Pyramid.
Dobrev, of the French Archaeological Institute in Cairo, said: 'It is incredible. The most important image in Egypt, the Sphinx, and we can't say who it was with certainty.
'This is the first time it has been proposed that the Sphinx has been built after the death of Khufu by his son Djedefre who succeeded him.'
Khafre, the builder of the nearby second pyramid at Giza who ruled from 2558 to 2532 BC, has traditionally been credited with creating the Sphinx. He is referred to in the Dream Stella, a stone tablet that tells of a young prince who dreamed that the Sphinx promised to make him king if he cleared the sand from its paws. He built the pyramid behind the Sphinx and the two temples in front of it.
However, Dobrev noticed that the causeway connecting Khafre's pyramid to the temples was built around the Sphinx ' meaning it was already in existence.
All known statues of Khafre show him with a beard ' but the Sphinx has none.