x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Shifting sands

An ancient sphinx statue, discovered far from Egypt. reminds us that human history is both long and mysterious.

The flow of the world's history is fascinating. Ancient statues of sphinxes - mythological creatures with the head of a man and body of a lion -have been found all over Egypt. Only Egypt.

But then, as the National reported yesterday, fragments of an ancient Egyptian sphinx ware discovered in Tel Hazor National Park in northern Israel, once the land of Canaan.

The sculpture, which archaeologists say may have originated in the ancient city of Heliopolis, carries the name of King Mycerinus who ruled Egypt about 4,500 years ago and built the smallest of Giza's famous pyramids.

The discovery of an Egyptian statue miles away from home raises many questions. Were there close ties between the Canaanites and the Egyptian pharaoh? Did Egypt rule Canaan at the time or did it come in an exchange of gifts? Or was it bought or stolen and then transferred to the area years later? We might never know. Some archaeologists say there were no relations between Egypt and this part of the world at that time.

But what we are certain of is that over history, sands have always been shifting, with people and objects moving from one place to another. And today's pharoah rapidly becomes tomorrow's broken pieces of stone.