Major-General SirRichard William Howard Vyse (25 July 1784 – 8 June 1853) was a British soldier, anthropologist and Egyptologist. He was also Member of Parliament for Beverley (from 1807 to 1812) and Honiton (from 1812 to 1818).
In 1809 he acted as aide-de-camp to his father on the staff of the Yorkshire district, and on 5 July 1810 received the honorary degree of D.C.L. from Oxford University.
On 2 October 1840, Vyse undertook an official duty as the Colonel of the Life Guards in the mourning party for HRH Princess Sophia-Augusta.
Vyse's gunpowder archaeology made one highly notable discovery in the Great Pyramid of Giza. Giovanni Battista Caviglia had blasted on the south side of the stress-relieving chamber (Davison's chamber) on top of the Kings chamber, a chamber discovered by Nathaniel Davidson in 1765, hoping to find a link to the southern air channel. But while Caviglia gave up, Vyse suspected that there was another chamber on top of Davison's chamber, since he could thrust a yard long reed though a crack up into a cavity. He therefore blasted straight up on the northern side, over three and a half months, finding four additional chambers.
Vyse named these chambers after important friends and colleagues; Wellington's chamber (Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington), Nelson's chamber (Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson), Lady Arbuthnot's chamber (Anne Fitzgerald, wife of Sir Robert Keith Arbuthnot, 2nd Baronet) and Campbell's chamber (Patrick Campbell, the British agent and Consul General in Egypt).
Just as amazing as the chambers were Vyse's discovery of numerous graffiti in the chambers, in red paint, dating from the time the pyramids was built. Along with lines, markers and directional notations were work gangs names, including cartouches of several pharaohs, concentrated in Lady Arbuthnot's & Nelson's chamber, but all four chambers contained graffiti. The previously discovered Davison's chamber contained no graffiti.
The now famous single instance of Pharaoh Khufu's name, compounded in a work gang inscription is found on the south ceiling towards the west end of Campbell's chamber. Today this chamber also contains a fair amount of 19th & 20th century graffiti. The other similar famous "Khnum-Khuf", also part of work gang graffiti, is found in Lady Arbuthnot's chamber. Several other compound cartouches can be found in this chamber too.
The following description's from the page of the Minnesota State University.
„...Although the story sounds very true there were a lot of speculations that came around much later. Many years later Zecharia Sitchin believed there was something missing with Vyse's find. Sitchin believed that the hieroglyph was from a different period than Khufu's Reign. In fact, the hieroglyph wasn't created until well after Khufu's death. Sitchin inquired about this and came to the conclusion that Vyse had gone into the pyramid and drawn the glyph on a stone. When Vyse was in the pyramid alone he had brought with him a book of a certain period of ancient glyphs. And the glyph that was found match almost perfectly with the one that was in the book. Also, when looking back at Vyse's journal entries from his expedition, there was thorough examination of the relieving rooms but no mention of the hieroglyphics.
Vyse's second "great discovery" was a flat iron plate, 12' by 4' and 1/8' thick. The plate was removed from a joint in the masonry at the place where the southern airshaft of the king's chamber exits to the outside. Experts conclude that it was left in the joint during the building of the pyramid and couldn't have been inserted afterwards. This is highly significant since the date for Iron Age in Egypt is around 650 B.C., though some believe it was in some use earlier and the accepted date for the building of the great pyramid is 2589 B.C. to 2566 B.C....”
Vyse was knighted, Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George, year unknown, though late in his life. Vyse died at Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, on 8 June 1853. He married, 13 Nov, 1810 Frances, second daughter of Henry Hesketh of Newton, Cheshire. By her he had eight sons and two daughters. His will was proved on 13 August 1853 at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury.