One of the most mysterious objects ever discovered is the Saqqara Bird. Discovered in 1898, while excavating the tomb of Pa-di-lmen in Sappho, archaeologist Khalil Messiha came upon a wooden object resembling a bird. With a mere seven-inch wingspan, this object has baffled archaeologists and researchers for years. While there are many theories as to what this object is until now, no solid conclusion has been offered.
It’s estimated to be about 2,200 years old, the most important part about this wooden bird is that it doesn’t look too much like a bird. The placement of the wings demonstrates advanced aerodynamics design. The Saqqara bird is a very controversial piece because it’s prompted some people to speculate that the ancient Egyptians may have had the technology and understanding of aerodynamics. Some speculate that the Saqqara Bird may have been a scale model of an actual working aircraft- some sort of ancient flying machine.
Many researchers have tried to debunk the theory that this piece is an actual prototype of an ancient flying machine, stating that it accidentally resembles a flying machine, but in the end, according to them, it is just a bird.
The Saqqara bird does resemble a bird, it has eyes, it has a nose but the wings of the Saqqara bird are not similar to the wings of birds. They resemble the wings of a modern-day jet plane. To the middle of the rump, the wings are bit thicker, it is where the lift up is at the highest point. The wings become thinner to the end and those wings are modeled down and this is the point which proves that the Saqqara bird has an advanced aerodynamic design in its construction. What is also very important is that birds have no rudders, they don’t need rudders.
Dr. Khalil Messiha published a paper in 1991 called African Experimental Aeronautics: A 2,000-Year-Old Model Glider wherein he detailed the following:
“The wing is made of one piece of wood, and its span is exactly 18 cms. The part of the body is the thickest—8 millimeters. Then it tapers in thickness towards the tips. One can note also that there is a Dihedral angle which is slightly unequal on both sides due to slight distortion of the wood, caused by the passage of time.”
What makes the story about the Saqqara bird more interesting are the hieroglyphs on the model airplane which read ‘The Gift of Amon’, and most importantly, three papyrus scripts found near the artifact which mentioned the phrase “I want to fly”.
“I have already made a similar balsa wood model, and added the tailplane (which I suppose was lost) and was not astonished to find that it could sail in the air for a few yards when thrown by hand.” – Dr. Khalil Messiha
The History Channel proved that the Saqqara Bird was capable of flight. They turned towards Simon Sanderson to build a replica of the artifact. Sanderson performed several tests of the replica in a wind tunnel without a tailplane and found that it produced “four times the glider’s own weight in lift.” the only thing that prevented the Saqqara bird from achieving flight was the lack of a rear stabilizing rudder needed to maintain balance and according to researchers, the Saqqara bird did, in fact, possess this critical component that was lost in time. We certainly know now that ancient man was technologically advanced, they had knowledge that goes far beyond than what we credit them for.