The Story of Controversial Archeologist: Robert M. Schoch

What is it about Robert Schoch that gets people so worked up - his theories about the age of the Great Sphinx , or the fact that his theories have made him successful?
Marcia Wendorf

Say the name "Robert Schoch" in some circles, and people get apoplectic. Schoch made his name back in 1991. That's when he, along with American scholar John Anthony West, presented their findings to the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America, claiming that the Great Sphinx was possibly 10,000 plus years old.

Schoch had the academic credentials to back that claim up. He had undergraduate degrees in both Anthropology and Geology from George Washington University, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Geology and Geophysics from Yale University.


In 1991, Schoch was a professor of Natural Sciences at the College of General Studies, Boston University.

The icy edge of scientific politeness

The announcement of the Sphinx's possible age was like a bomb going off. At the February 1992 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago, Schoch debated Egyptologist Mark Lehner, and as the New York Times would describe it in their article, "The exchange was to last an hour, but it spilled over to a news conference and then a hallway confrontation in which voices were raised and words skated on the icy edge of scientific politeness."

In scientific circles, those must have been harsh words indeed, and Lehner continued attacking Schoch, labeling his research "pseudoscience". Then, in 1993 something happened that really made the scientific community mad – Charlton Heston.

"The Mystery of the Sphinx"

On November 10, 1993, U.S. TV Network NBC aired a documentary that was narrated by well-known actor Charlton Heston entitled, "The Mystery of the Sphinx." It described the work of West and Schoch, and with subsequent showings on The Learning Channel and The Discovery Channel, over 33 million people have viewed that documentary.

Compare that number, 33 million, to the number of people who watched the next to last episode of Game of Thrones Season 8, "The Bells", which had the highest viewership of all the episodes – 18.4 million viewers. Let that sink in for a moment. Almost twice as many people watched The Mystery of the Sphinx as watched "The Bells".

Most Popular

Schoch was now popular, and you know what popularity breeds – money.

Mark Lehner's primary complaint about Schoch and West's hypothesis was a lack of evidence of an earlier civilization,  saying, "If the Sphinx was built by an earlier culture, where is the evidence of that civilization? Where are the pottery shards? People during that age were hunters and gatherers. They didn’t build cities."

Schoch found that evidence in a tall mound in Turkey.

Gobekli Tepe

In southeastern Turkey lies a hill or tell of extraordinary height: 15 m (49 ft), with a diameter of 300 m (980 ft). Gobekli Tepe was first discovered in 1963, but it wasn't excavated until 1996 by German archaeologist Klaus Schmidt.

Gobekli Tepe
Gobekli Tepe Source: Teomancimit/Wikimedia Commons

It is comprised of a series of stone circles somewhat similar to Stonehenge in England. Gobekli Tepe's upright stones are 2 to 5.5 meters tall and weigh 10 to 15 tons. The pillars are decorated with bas-reliefs of foxes, boars, snakes, aurochs (wild cattle), Asiatic wild asses, wild sheep, cranes, a vulture, a gazelle, scorpions and ants.

Radiocarbon dating has placed Gobekli Tepe at 9000 to 10,000 BCE or earlier. Strangely, the site was deliberately buried around 8000 BCE.

Like Stonehenge, the central pairs of pillars in the enclosures are oriented generally toward the southeast sky, with Enclosure D oriented approximately 7º east of south, and those of Enclosures C, B, and A oriented approximately 13º east of south, 20º east of south, and 35º east of south respectively.

Schoch makes the case that the ancient builders of Gobekli Tepe were marking out stars as they rose in the sky on the morning of the vernal equinox. Author Graham Hancock has convincingly made the case that the Great Sphinx did the same thing, gazing precisely at the point of sunrise on the morning of the vernal equinox 10,000 plus years ago.

At Stonehenge, which dates to between 3,000 BC and 2,000 BC, on the morning of the summer solstice, the sun rises directly behind the Heel Stone, and its rays shine into the monument.

Solar-Induced Dark Age

Schoch makes the case for a solar plasma event having taken place around 9700 BCE that brought about the end of the last ice age. He claims that these solar outbursts wiped out an earlier civilization that predated the Egyptians, and brought about a dark age which he calls a SIDA (solar-induced dark age).

Schoch claims that these solar outbursts hitting glaciers, oceans and lakes, caused melting and evaporation, which led to torrential rains as in the Great Flood of Noah, and would have wiped out existing civilizations, such as Atlantis.

Terrible Lizards

Before you think that Schoch is "out there" consider this: in 1676, the curator of an English museum, Robert Plot, described and drew a massive thigh bone that he believed must have belonged to a giant man. In 1822, large teeth were discovered in England that were thought to be the remains of an enormous, extinct iguana.

It wasn't until 1841 that British scientist Richard Owen realized that such fossils were distinct from those of any living creature, and he named them "Dinosauria," which means "terrible lizards."

Largest dinosaur
Largest dinosaur Source: Simplicius/Wikimedia Commons

In 1840, if you had told someone that a race of beings existed on earth that weighed 50 – 96.4 metric tons (55.1–106.3 short tons), was 30 – 39.7 m (98 – 130 ft) long and had tails that measured 29 – 33.5-meters-long (95–110 ft), they would have looked at you like you were crazy.

Why People Hate Robert Schoch

It's because he's made money from his theories. Schoch makes money from the sales of his books. He has written the 2017 tome, Origins of the Sphinx - Celestial Guardian of Pre-Pharaonic Civilization, 2012's Forgotten Civilization - The Role of Solar Outbursts in our Past and Future, and 2008's The Paraspychology Revolution - A Concise Anthology of Paranormal and Psychical Research, among others.

Schoch makes money from speeches and appearances at conventions. He's a frequent speaker at "CPAK - The Conference on Precession and Ancient Knowledge", and in Fall 2019, he's booked into the "Conscious Life Expo" and "Edgar Cayce's A.R.E."

Schoch makes money from conducting tours to places such as Egypt, Turkey, Peru, Bolivia, Easter Island, and Malta. In Spring 2019, he is conducting two trips to Egypt, and in July 2019, you can join him on a cruise to Mexico to see Mayan ruin Chichen Itza.

People want to be close to Robert Schoch. On his Egyptian tour's web page, Schoch promises to "enjoy meals, walks, and starlit evenings together." Schoch even has to reassure tour members of their access to him, with the tour website saying, "Rest assured, we will enjoy the sites together, meals together, the hotels (we will stay together at the same hotels), and we will most certainly be together on-board the same luxury cruise boat as we journey up and down The Nile together!"

Whether Shoch's theories are correct or not, only time will tell. Whether Schoch has made a successful career out of his theories, that isn't in doubt.

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