Part of an ancient Egyptian king's unique sphinx was unveiled at a dig in northern Israel on Tuesday, Agence France-Presse reported, as researchers struggled to understand just how the unexpected artifact ended up there.
The small broken granite sphinx -- including the paws and some of the mythical creature's forearms -- is displayed at the Tel Hazor archaeological site in the Galilee, and is the first such find in the region.
The discovery marks the first time ever that researchers have found a statue dedicated to Egyptian ruler Mycerinus (also known as Menkaure) who ruled circa 2,500 B.C. and was the builder of one of the three Giza pyramids, according to the report.
"This is the only monumental Egyptian statue ever found in the Levant, today's Israel, Lebanon, Syria," Amnon Ben-Tor, an archaeology professor at the Hebrew University in charge of the Tel Hazor dig, told AFP.
"It is also the only sphinx of this particular king known, not even in Egypt was a sphinx of that particular king found," according to Ben-Tor, who said that besides Mycerinus' name, carved in hieroglyphics between the forearms, there are symbols reading "beloved by the divine souls of Heliopolis."
Did someone drag that through the desert for 40+ years?