HAIFA, Israel, July 9 (UPI) -- Fragments of a 4,000 year-old Egyptian sphinx were uncovered in an archaeological dig at Tel Hazor in northern Israel, officials said Tuesday.
Hebrew University Professor Amnon Ben-Tor, director of the excavations, told Israel Radio an inscription found between the legs of the sphinx suggests it is Pharaoh Menkaure, otherwise known under the Hellenized name of Mykerinos.
So far, workers at the dig have uncovered parts of the front legs and chest. An inscription found between the front legs suggests the sphinx was carved in ancient Heliopolis near Cairo. Ben-Tor estimated the length of the sphinx at 2 meters (6 1/2 feet).
"It seems this sphinx is of Menkaure, a king who ruled Egypt in 2,500 B.C. This is the only known sphinx of this king to have ever been found. He built one of the three pyramids in Giza," Ben-Tor told Israel Radio.
Ben-Tor said he believes the sphinx was brought to Tel Hazor either by Canaanites as war booty, or a gift to the ruler of the area at the time from an Egyptian king.