Deleted section as per Request

26 June 2008


Nevertheless this deleted section below, can be fount at:




Yet, strangely, just a few hundred meters away to the west is something curious marked on a map of the plateau made in 1837 by John Shae Perring (1813-1869), the British engineer and anthropologist who worked alongside Col Richard William Howard Vyse (1754-1853), the British soldier and anthropologist who investigated the monuments of Giza at this time. It refers to 'Excavated tombs and pits of bird mummies' in connection with an accompanying drawing showing a north facing entrance to an east-west running ridge, as well as several chambers in a line each side of a north-south corridor.


Other smaller rooms are also shown at the southern end of the cave-like catacomb. Further investigations by my colleague Nigel Skinner Simpson turned up only one reference to this presumed sepulchral monument of unknown age in Vyse's three volume opus OPERATIONS CARRIED ON AT GIZA (1837).


Volume I, page 238, states:

3rd May 1837.

I examined the rocky ground to the westward of the Great Pyramid and the tombs and buildings to the north of the second. Foundations might everywhere be traced under the sands; and shafts lined with unburnt bricks amongst which probably a cartouche might be found which would determine the date of the constructions. Portals and sepulchral chambers had been formed in the northern ridge of the mountain.


The entrance of one of the largest was supported by square pillars, and contained a mummy pit. The interior consisted of two ruined chambers which had formerly been adorned with painted stucco but were filled with the sands of the desert. A staircase descended from these apartments to a lower range of excavations and shafts where fragments of mummies and of embalmed animals were to be found beneath the sand. Part of a large bird which had been preserved with great care was brought out."

Sadly, Vyse makes no other references to this underground maze of tombs and pits, and so we learn no more about the 'part of a large bird ' that was removed, or why Perring's map refers to 'bird mummies' in plural. Yet it implies that this was some kind of catacomb similar to those found at nearby Saqqara, one of which was found to contain tens of thousands of hawks sacred to the god Horus.


These had been deposited as votive offerings over a several-hundred year period, c. 750-350 BC. She to whom were they offered at Giza? If not Horus, who is associated with the plateau in his form as Horemakhet (Harmakhet, Harmachis), ‘Horus in the Horizon', and is a name also for the the Great Sphinx - then Giza's 'tombs and pits' might well have been sacred to the falcon god Sokar.


However, Vyse's statement that part of a 'large bird' was removed does tend to imply an avian specimen larger than the common hawk, kestrel or falcon. And why was this bird catacomb to be found beyond the northwest corner of the plateau, facing out towards the northern skies? It is a frustratingly, baffling enigma.