This photo is in a TV documentary about World War 2 in Africa. I see a large square platform build of bricks that goes right up to the chin. What is this and why was it removed? And why is nothing ever written about this in histories of the Sphinx I find online? I seriously doubt it somebody would fake a photograph like this for a WW2 documentary.

TV screen capture demonstrating the question

  • 2
    More images here.
    – justCal
    Feb 5, 2019 at 0:27
  • I wonder where they put the Thutmosis IV Dream Stele while that support was there.
    – Spencer
    Feb 5, 2019 at 0:42
  • 5
    @drewbenn Seems like you have enough to convert your comments into an answer. Feb 5, 2019 at 1:28

1 Answer 1


The structure you see is made of rock and sandbags, to protect the Sphinx from bombs as World War II fighting drew near the area. Life magazine reported in 1942 that,

the Egyptians have partially covered [the Sphinx] up.... From its base they have built a pile of rock. On top of that they have put a pile of sandbags, neatly tucking them in around the statue's chin to protect the weak limestone neck and face against breakage if a bomb should go off nearby.

enter image description here

Ironically, this protection was necessary after nearly two decades of excavations. From 1925 to 1936 Emile Baraize (beginning p.40) dug out the sand around the Sphinx and installed walls around it to keep the sand away, and found several temples and a Roman-era viewing platform. Baraize also took over 200 photographs during his excavations but I haven't been able to find an online archive of them. Selim Hassan took over after that and immediately razed Baraize's protective walls and continued the excavations and investigation.

  • Thanks for the explanation. Looks like this site has good researchers. What is your opinion on why the nose is gone? Is it the Sufi Muslim leader who chiseled it off because his people were starting to worship the old gods again? Feb 6, 2019 at 13:16

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