For the first time, finally, the public has had the chance to see what myself, Egyptological researcher Nigel Skinner Simpson and my wife Sue found and explored back in 2008 – Giza’s previously unrecorded cave complex. In an episode of the History Channel television reality show Chasing Mummies, broadcast on September 1, 2010, Dr Zahi Hawass, along with an assembled team that included a full camera crew, were seen investigating the caves for an estimated distance of 300-350 feet. Their goal was to disprove the “pyramidiots” who believed that previously unknown caverns located in Giza’s north cliff reached all the way to the main pyramid field, several hundred metres away.

Vyse and Perring

It was in 1837 that the large tomb, through which the caves are accessed, was examined by British explorer Col. Richard Howard Vyse and engineer John Shae Peering. Vyse recorded that on May 3 the mummy of a “large bird” was “carefully” removed from the tomb’s interior (Vyse, I, 238), while Perring’s subsequent plans of the site indicate a complex structure now known to be on two levels, next to which he wrote the word “Excavated tombs and pits of bird mummies” (Vyse, 1840, I, I; Perring, 1839-42), indicating that more than simply one bird mummy was found at the site.

In January 2007 Sue Collins and I visited the tomb, which does not appear to have been mentioned in any publication since Vyse and Perring’s day. I was intrigued by the site’s possible use as a bird necropolis, and discovered that within the tomb walls are a number of horizontal slots that were probably used for the interment of birds, and also small animals, perhaps left as offerings to a bird-related deity (Collins, 2009).