Beardless in Giza

For most of its 4,500 years, the Great Sphinx stood guard over the pyramids of Giza from behind a 14-ft. limestone beard. Now, centuries after unknown forces gave the enigmatic monument a shave, some Egyptian authorities want to restore the Sphinx to its former hirsute splendor. Their interest is more than cosmetic. Because the neck of the 66-ft-high statue has been badly eroded by centuries of exposure to the elements, even a moderate earth tremor could send the entire 965-ton head rolling off. Says Culture Minister Mohammed Radwan: "The only acceptable way to avoid further deterioration and to support the...

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