One of the world’s most recognized monuments, the Great Sphinx, has been Egypt’s pride and a national symbol since the ancient civilization flourished. It has a lion’s body and the head of a man wearing a pharaoh’s crown.

Long believed to date back to the 4th century rule of King Khafre, the Great Sphinx has been a geological wonder because of its iconic status and immense size. The monolith was made from a giant limestone built as part of an elaborate complex that housed several other structures including the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Mortuary Temple, and the Valley Temple.

New study disputes long-held age of the Great Sphinx

Geologists and archaeologists have always debated about the date that the iconic statue was built. Many place it to about 4,500 years old during the tyrant King Khafre’s rule, while others suggest it was even earlier than that. New studies show the Great Sphinx might have been possibly built around 9,000 years ago — a hypothesis that predates the ancient civilization of Egypt.

Experts were able to lay claims to the earlier construction because of a rainfall erosion discovered near the top of the statue. It is believed that the last rainfall that landed in the area happened about 7000 BC. If this evidence proves valid, then it would predate the construction and drag the timeline backwards up to 9,000 years.

The questionable new theory that dismantles our understanding of the ancient civilization

Most experts still believe the second tallest pyramid, the Funerary Temple of Khafre, was built just about the same time as Khafre’s rule. It was part of an elaborate complex to outdo his father’s bigger pyramid by constructing numerous statues, including the Great Sphinx.