Moving an ancient Sphinx weighing nearly 12 tons from one place to another in the museum is not a simple thing. According to the person responsible for moving antiques from the Egyptian Exhibition Hall to the Penn Hall of the Museum, this is extremely stressful work.
"This is one of the most stressful things I've ever done," Bob Thurlow, Project Director, is in charge of techniques for coordination and safety for antiquities. The movement of the Sphinx needs close supervision of a team of engineers and contractors. Below is a video timelapse shared by Penn Museum:
Moving the Sphinx
The statue of the Sphinx is thought to have been from the time of Pharaoh Ramses II, reigning from 1279-1213 BC. At its widest point, it is 132cm wide and 213cm tall. To move it within a distance of 91m from one point to another, Thurlow and his team must make plans six months in advance to be able to remove and move the statue to the safest.
The engineers designed the ramp that could bear the load capacity in the Penn Museum, plus the engines to transport the Sphinx. “We anticipate areas where incidents may occur, if anything happens, we are ready, there is a contingency plan available”, Thurlow said.
The Sphinx is made of red granite, so the person moving does not need to wear gloves, because contact on the skin does not affect the stone.
It is known that this is the largest Sphinx in the western hemisphere, discovered in 1913 by archaeologist Sir William Matthew Flinder Petrie. In the past, the Penn Museum had to move it with wooden rollers. However, this time with the help of the movers made the job lighter, but of course it also needed to be very focused.