Sunday, March 14, 2010

Avenue of Lost Sphinxes to be Unveiled Soon

Originally published March 14, 2010 | Times Online | by Matthew Campbell | I have a love-hate relationship with this endeavor - that of uncovering and restoring the Avenue of the Sphinxes. I commend the restoration work, but wish the effort wasn't a rushed affair. It's archaeology - it should be a slow process, not only to take care with ancient artifacts, but to avoid making mistakes (historical and ethical). Yes, it's a great future touristic hot-spot, but catering to tourism should come second to good archaeology.

The following is an excerpt:

A HIDDEN wonder of the ancient world is to be unveiled in Egypt after excavation of the first stretch of a two-mile avenue lined with hundreds of carved sphinxes.

Built more than 3,000 years ago, the so-called Avenue of Sphinxes linked two giant temples and was used once a year for a religious procession. It was gradually buried by silt and built over after falling out of use in the 5th century AD.

Now it is being uncovered and the first part is expected to open within weeks. Visitors will have the chance to stroll under the imperious gaze of the sphinxes — mythological creatures with the body of a lion and head of a human or ram.


Controversy has surrounded the project, not least because of the speed of the excavation in which bulldozers have cut a 100-yard trench through some of the densely populated districts of Luxor.

Foreign archeologists say historical buildings have been demolished to make way for a lucrative new attraction.

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