The Great Sphinx has the body of a lion and the face of a man. It is a giant limestone sculpture in the Giza Plateau near modern Cairo, Egypt, measuring 73.5 m. in length by 20 m. in height. The Great Sphinx is the earliest known monumental sculpture.
The statue has been missing its nose since at least Napoleonic times.
Probably helping to preserve it, the sphinx was nearly buried in sand.
The sphinx stands in the Egyptian necropolis at Giza that contains the 3 monumental pyramids:
- the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops),
who may have ruled from about 2589 to 2566 B.C.,
- the Pyramid of Khufu's son Khafra (Chephren),
who may have ruled from about 2558 B.C. to about 2532 B.C., and
- the pyramid of Khufu's grandson Menkaure (Mycerinus).
There are other smaller pyramids, temples, and a causeway in the Giza necropolis.
It is believed the Great Sphinx's head was modeled on Pharaoh Khafra.
Based on the presence of rainwater erosion by the sphinx, it is possible that the sphinx is 2000 years older, according to Archaeology Daily's [url = www.archeologydaily.com/news/index.php?/The-real-face-of-the-Great-Sphinx-of-Giza.html ]"The real face of the Great Sphinx of Giza". If so, the face would not have been the pharaoh's. The Archaeology Daily article suggests a lion head to go with the body.