The information offered by Dr Hawass to the effect that American Egyptologist George Reisner used the Tomb of the Birds as a storeroom during his excavations at Giza in the 1910s to 1920s is intriguing, and we look forward to learning more.
Dr Hawass’s statement that we have simply become confused by the maze-like layout of the tomb, and in doing so have labelled it a cave complex is simply not correct. Firstly, the tomb itself is relatively basic in its construction. After entry via a massive, deep-cut façade, you come upon a double lobed anteroom, with two worn, square-cut pillars. This leads you into a north-south corridor, at the rear of which is a raised area cut out of the living rock, with an east-west altar or bed-like platform carved out of the back wall. On the left before you reach the raised area is a large room, as described by Dr Hawass, and on the right is a small opening in the rock into a large cave chamber, which Dr Hawass refers to as “leading to a descending passage.” Although entirely natural, the room has been partially hewn to give it a more rectilinear appearance. A large natural cave compartment can be found in its northwest corner, while a small hole on the south side of this enormous compartment leads into a cave tunnel that we travelled for some considerable distance. It is here that Salt and Caviglia, and arguably even Vyse and Perring, came in the early nineteenth century. There is no confusion here, we entered a natural cave system that permeates the limestone bedrock of the plateau’s Moqattam formation.
Dr Hawass states that the tomb and, by virtue of this, the caves have “recently been re-explored by my office, the Supreme Council of Antiquities.” If this is correct, and certainly our own interest in the tomb in March-April 2008 prompted a newfound interest in them by SCA officials, then we await further news of their findings on this fascinating subject.
There was a video on YouTube but it is now removed.