Just in front of, and to the right of the Great Sphinx, are two awesome megalithic temples, known as the Sphinx Temple, and the Valley Temple. Although both of these buildings are remarkable for their sheer magnitude and incredible megaliths, the following section will concentrate on the Valley Temple, as the Sphinx Temple was off-limits to tourists at the time of our visit.
The Valley Temple
The Valley Temple at Giza, traditionally attributed to the Pharaoh Khafre, is an absolute wonder of engineering, and its distinctive architectural style identifies it as being among the oldest stone buildings in Egypt, if not the world. The only other known parallels in Egypt are the Sphinx Temple right next to it, and the mysterious Osirion at Abydos, in Upper Egypt.
What makes the Valley Temple so remarkable, is the sheer size of the stones used in its construction, and the incredible number of them used. The temple itself is roughly square, measuring 147 feet on each side, and it is built into the slope of the plateau with the height of its exterior walls rising from just over 20 feet on the west side, to over 40 feet on the east side. Its core structure is built entirely of huge limestone blocks, hundreds of them, regularly exceeding 200 tons each in weight, the equivalent of nearly 300 family-sized cars!
Not content with using hundreds of 200-ton blocks of limestone, the builders of the Valley Temple had also managed to lift these huge stones to heights of over 40 feet! To give some kind of perspective, the largest sarsen stones at the famous Stonehenge in Southern England weigh a mere 50 tons, and they were not lifted to anywhere near these heights. The engineering logistics are simply incredible.
It is a fact, which is accepted by Egyptologists, that the huge limestone megaliths used in the construction of the Valley temple, came from the trench excavated from the bedrock by the builders of the Sphinx (as described later in the section “The Great Sphinx”) This has been confirmed by rock strata analysis. In other words, the two monuments arecontemperaneous, they must have been built at the same time. Egyptologists, as mentioned earlier attribute the building of the Valley Temple to the Pharaoh Khafre (2520-2494 BC). This is because a diorite statue of this pharaoh was found inside the temple, buried upside-down in a pit. As far as convincing evidence goes, this hardly ranks very highly – indeed there exists a passage of text in hyroglyphs on an artefact known as the Inventory Stella, which implies that the Valley Temple (and the Sphinx), already existed during the reign of Khufu, who ruled more than 30 years before Khafre.
We know that most of the construction undertaken by the know historical Dynasties of Egypt has been embellished with inscriptions and decoration, paying homage to deities as well as the Pharaohs responsible for their construction. One need only look at the magnificent tombs and temples of the Valley of the Kings for evidence of this. So how do we date thisuninscribed and otherwise anonymous monument? By the mere presence of a statue, which could easily be intrusive?
A pragmatic and logical mind demands more evidence than this, and this is where the empirical science of geology can help us out. An astonishing fact about the Valley Temple is that its construction appears to have been in two stages – its huge limestone megaliths (of the original construction) have been encased with granite facing stones. These are mostly intact on the inside of the temple, but on the outside they have mostly fallen away, revealing an amzing clue as to the age of the structure; that is, the granite casing stones, on the side facing the limestone blocks, had been cut in peaks and troughs, to fit the existing erosional patterns of the limestone core blocks. In other words, when the granite facing was added, the limestone core was already heavily eroded, implying that the core block were already vastly old when this renovation took place.
The fact of the matter is, no solid evidence exists for the reliable attribution of this temple to Khafre, and, as we shall see with the Great Sphinx, the evidence of a far greater antiquity for these monuments keeps stacking up.