The Saqqara Bird is a bird-shaped artifact made of sycamore wood, discovered during the 1898
excavation of the Pa-di-Imen tomb in Saqqara, Egypt. It has been dated to approximately 200 BCE, and is now housed in the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo. The Saqqara Bird has a wingspan of 180 mm (7.1 in) and weighs 39.12 g (1.380 oz). Its function is not understood because of a lack of period documentation.
Some think the Saqqara Bird may be a ceremonial object because the falcon, the bird after which the Saqqara Bird is modeled, is the form most commonly used to represent several of the most important gods of Egyptian mythology, most notably Horus and Ra Horakhty.
Some have suggested that the Saqqara Bird may represent evidence that knowledge of the principles of aviation existed many centuries before such are generally believed to have first been discovered. Egyptian physician, archaeologist, parapsychologist and dowser Khalil Messiha has speculated that the ancient Egyptians developed the first aircraft. He wrote that it “represents a diminutive of an original monoplane still present in Saqqara.” He also claimed that the Saqqara Bird could function as a glider if it had a horizontal tailplane, which he “suppose[d] was lost,” and noted that the Egyptians often placed miniaturized representations of their technology in their tombs.
Messiha contended that the Saqqara Bird differs significantly from other statues and models of birds housed in the Cairo museum. According to Messiha, the Saqqara Bird has a vertical tailplane which is unlike the generally horizontal shape of a real bird’s tail. Richard P. Hallion described this fin as “shaped as if the bird had twisted its tail feathers.” It is also legless and has wings set at an angle Messiha sees as similar to that of modern aircraft, which he considered an attempt to create aerodynamic lift.