A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
A descent into the Tomb of Osiris
When the discovery of the so-called Osiris Tomb on the Giza Plateau was announced this past spring, it caused a stir in the international media. Reports proclaimed that the grave of Egypt's master of the underworld and god of fertility had finally been found. Moreover, it matched a description of it in the writings of the fifth-century B.C. Greek historian Herodotus.
Located among a number of deep shaft graves belonging to Egyptian nobility of the New Kingdom and Late Dynastic Period, the so-called Osiris Tomb is 100 yards or so down the causeway that connects Khafre's Mortuary Temple at the base of the pyramid with the Sphinx and his Valley Temple. A visit by ARCHAEOLOGY to the the tomb, a damp grotto nearly 100 feet below the Giza Plateau, calls into question both its interpretation and its history of exploration.
Angela M.H. Schuster is a senior editor of ARCHAEOLOGY.