Is any ancient civilisation more enduringly fascinating than Egypt? Egypt was already old when the Greek city-states and Republican (and later Imperial) Rome had their heyday, and scholars from those civilisations pored over Egyptian relics much like Howard Carter and his contemporaries in the 1920s – the boom of modern Egyptology. Even the name “Egyptology” bespeaks the special reverence we have for ancient Egypt – there’s no equivalent term for the study of any other civilisation of antiquity.
As you can tell from the title, the documentary Mysteries of the Sphinx focuses on one of ancient Egypt’s key symbols and most enduring enigmas, The Great Sphinx of Giza. Narrated by Julian Barratt (The Mighty Boosh), it looks at modern attempts to dig into (there are worse puns we could have made) the mighty statue’s history, construction, and religious and cultural significance. It’s not the first film to do so, nor will it be the last; the Sphinx guards its secrets well.