Part of an ancient Egyptian king's sphinx was unveiled at a dig in northern Israel on Tuesday, and researchers are puzzled as to how it got there.
The broken granite statue, including the paws and some of the forearms, is the first such find in the region, AFP reported.
It's also the first time that researchers have ever found a statue dedicated Mycerinus, who ruled Egypt circa 2,500 BC, an expert told AFP.
"This is the only monumental Egyptian statue ever found in the Levant — today's Israel, Lebanon, Syria," said Amnon Ben-Tor, an archaeology professor at the Hebrew University in charge of the dig in Tel Hazor.
"It is also the only sphinx of this particular king known, not even in Egypt was a sphinx of that particular king found," he added.
How the statue made its way to the dig site, however, remains a mystery, "since there were absolutely no relations between Egypt and this part of the world then," Ben-Thor said.
He suggests the most likely way the sphinx reached Tel Hazor is in the form of a gift sent by a later Egyptian ruler, AFP reported.
Shlomit Blecher, who manages the Selz Foundation Hazor Excavations, was the archaeologist who unearthed the finding in August 2012. The sphinx is displayed at Tel Hazor archaeological site in Israel's Galilee.
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