LiveScience explains more about the delicate process:

To keep the paper-thin plaster of Paris from cracking, they wrapped it in cheesecloth soaked in a preservation chemical. Then, they carefully funneled sand out of the hollow statue, replacing the empty space with expanding insulation foam, Hamilton said.

The team could only work a few hours each day. In the morning, the thick, moist fog prevented them from doing their fragile work, and strong winds in the afternoon also stymied their progress. But, after eight days, they finally removed the body and placed it in an off-site building to dry and shrink to its normal size.


It's also somewhat ironic that the found artifacts are being treated with such reverence, considering they were essentially illicit litter for almost a century.

As early as next year, The Dunes Center in Guadalupe, California will have the restored Sphinx on display, and according to IMDB, as of May of this year Brosnan was in post-production on a documentary about his efforts, so these new breakthroughs are undoubtedly good publicity. In any event, this may be the latest place to make a celluloid pilgrimage since a renovated Tatooine. [Los Angeles Times; LiveScience]