Archaeologists are baffled after discovering part of an ancient Egyptian sphinx in northern Israel, miles from its original resting place.
Egyptologists are now speculating how the sphinx ended up so far away. Some believe it was looted from the Egyptians, while others suggest it was given to them as a gift.
The restoration of the sphinx's paws and forearms have taken almost a year, which exposed the hieroglyphic writing.
The hieroglyphs explain that the sphinx was dedicated to Egyptian ruler Mycerinus, who was a ruler in 2500 B.C. He was also the builder of the smaller pyramid in Giza.
Researchers say it was the first statue to have been created for the leader and it was also the first time an Egyptian statue was found in the Levant region.
The hieroglyphs also say, "Beloved by the divine souls of Heliopolis."
They came across the sphinx when they were working in the Tel Hazor dig.
As of now, parts of the feet and face have been found and archaeologists are hopeful that they will find more of the sphinx.
Amnon Ben-Tor, an archaeology professor, said, "That it arrived in the days of Mycerinus himself is unlikely, since there were absolutely no relations between Egypt and this part of the world then. Egypt maintained relations with Lebanon, especially via the ancient port of Byblos, to import cedar wood via the Mediterranean, so they skipped today's northern Israel."
"Egyptian records tell us that those foreign rulers plundered and desecrated the local temples and did all kinds of terrible things, and it is possible that some of this looting included a statue like this one."
Ben-Tor, however, believes that it is more likely that the sphinx reached Tel Hazor because it was a gift.
"The third option is that it arrived in Hazor some time after the New Kingdom started in 1,550 B.C., during which Egypt ruled Canaan, and maintained close relations with the local rulers, who were left on their thrones," he said. "In such a case it's possible the statue was sent by the Egyptian ruler to king of Hazor, the most important ruler in this region."