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Abydos, 1848 – In this ancient city in Egypt, the temple of Seti I was discovered. On one of the ceilings of the temple, strange hieroglyphs were found that sparked a debate between Egyptologists. The carvings appear to depict modern vehicles resembling a helicopter, a submarine, and airplanes.
At first the images circulating were thought to be fakes, but were later filmed and verified as valid images. Yet, even if these images clearly appear to resemble twentieth century machines, Egyptologists have tried to offer a rational explanation.
It was common in Ancient Egypt for hieroglyphs to be re-carved and re-faced over the years. This process of writing on the same surface more than once is called palimpsest, and it was common practice when a new Pharaoh was establishing a dynasty to write over the hieroglyphs of his predecessors. It is well known that such a process took place at the temple of Seti I in Abydos by his son Ramses II.
However, there is still some disagreement over the palimpsest theory. If the above depictions are indeed ‘left overs’ from previously carved hieroglyphs, the symbols should appear random and unique. Yet the Arab newspaper Al Sharq Al Awsat has published pictures from another temple in Karnak in which the carvings are very similar to those found in Abydos. If the carvings at Karnak are real, the palimpsest theory falls apart. Still, it is difficult to find evidence of those pictures and until then this argument is in question.
If we know that Egyptians did not have technology of this kind—and if we consider for a moment that these images are true carvings—then we must ask ourselves how they came to appear inside the temple? Could it be that extra-terrestrials visited our planet all those centuries ago and that the ancient Egyptians tried to depict their spacecrafts in the best way they knew how? For now, it is difficult to prove such a theory, but at the very least, we believe this possibility must be considered.
Gem Virtuosos: The Drehers and Their Extraordinary Carvings
The German towns of Idar and Oberstein (now Idar-Oberstein) have a rich history of gem cutting and carving, notably in agate. The profession continues to be passed on from one generation to the next, as it has been for over five centuries. One of these families, the Drehers, has worked with gem materials for 13 generations. Gerd Dreher apprenticed gem carving with his father starting in 1955, while Gerd’s son, Patrick, began his apprenticeship in 1988. While they carve individually, occasionally they work together as a team. The family creates fine carvings from agates and from single crystals of high-quality rough gem minerals. These unique pieces are extraordinarily detailed and utilize natural color zoning to achieve a remarkably lifelike effect.
Abydos Helicopter in Egypt
In 1848, an archaeological expedition working in Egypt discovered strange hieroglyphs on a ceiling beam at an ancient temple in Abydos, several hundred miles south of Cairo. The hieroglyphs were carefully copied and brought back to Europe. The mysterious images gave rise to heated debate amongst Egyptologists. Eventually, however, they were dismissed as bizarre objects that nobody could adequately explain and were forgotten. That is Abydos Helicopter.
In the mid 1990’s photographs and videos, taken primarily by tourists who had visited Abydos, began to appear on the internet. They depicted the ‘strange machine hieroglyphs‘ originally discovered in the nineteenth century. The temple in which they were found was built by Pharaoh Seti I around three thousand years ago. To the modern viewer it is clear that the strange machines, so mysterious to the Victorians, are in fact various types of flying craft and a tank.
One of the aircraft is a helicopter. There is no mistaking it. It has a rotor blade, cockpit and tailfin typical of a modern battle helicopter. On the face of it, this is one of the most astounding discoveries ever to have been made in Egypt.
THE EGYPTOLOGISTS EXPLANATION of Abydos Helicopter
Not surprisingly, perhaps, the ancient high-tech machinery glyphs have been dismissed out of hand by modern Egyptologists. Given the great body of knowledge that now exists with regard to ancient Egypt, the concept of the Egyptian military flying around in sophisticated aircraft three thousand years ago is simply ludicrous. The conventional explanation for these mysterious carvings, fielded by Egyptologists, is that they are just illusions. The most likely cause of these anomalous hieroglyphs is considered to be due to re-facing and re-carving of the original temple stonework, and to weathering effects. Over a protracted period of time, it is believed that parts of the reworked stone have fallen away, revealing older hieroglyphs underneath. In effect, sections of the original and re-carved hieroglyphs have become overlapped to produce altered images that bear little, if any resemblance, to the original images. Such images are termed ‘palimpsests‘ by Egyptologists.
Re-carving of inscriptions was a common phenomenon in ancient Egypt. When newly installed Pharaohs adopted the structures of previous rulers, they sought to make them their own by overwriting the hieroglyphs of their predecessors. Indeed, some refurbishment of the Seti I temple at Abydos is known to have taken place when it was acquired by his son and successor Ramasses II. Looking at the photograph shown above, however, or higher resolution photographs readily accessible on the internet, it is clear that nothing has fallen away from the carving of the helicopter and other military craft. They are continuous intact images. The helicopter, for example, is precise in every detail, down to its finely carved rotor blade.
ASTONISHING NEW PHOTOGRAPHS
Recently, the respected Arab newspaper ‘Al-Sharq Al-Awsat‘ published several photographs taken at another Egyptian temple, the Amon Ra Temple in Karnak. The photographs are of carvings believed to be three thousand years old. They appear very similar to the carvings found at Abydos. There is a battle helicopter with a distinct rotor and a tail unit, and nearby, other modern-looking flying craft. So, there are in fact not one, but two almost identical sets of carvings at Karnak and Abydos. What are the chances of that being due to identical palimpsest effects at both locations?
ANCIENT FLYING CRAFT
So accepting the fact that the ancient Egyptians did not have the technology to build helicopters or other aircraft, where did the images of the flying machines come from?
The history of the human race has been turbulent to say the least. Many of the fabulous ancient libraries, such as the library at Alexandria and the vast libraries of ancient China have been destroyed. Much of the priceless evidence of the distant past has been obliterated. Fortunately, however, ancient writings have survived, particularly in India. Amazingly, some of these ancient texts speak of highly sophisticated flying craft.
Recently, it was reported that the Chinese have discovered extremely old Sanskrit documents in Tibet and sent them to the University of Chandrigarh in India to be translated. Apparently, the documents contain instructions for building spacecraft. Surprisingly, the Chinese announced that they were evaluating this ancient technology for potential inclusion in their space program!
There is increasing evidence that the so-called ‘Rama Empire’ of Northern India and Pakistan is far more ancient than had been originally supposed. Remnants of its large sophisticated cities are still to be found in the deserts of Pakistan, and in Northern and Western India. According to ancient Indian texts, the Empire of Rama had flying machines which were called ‘Vimanas‘. The texts on Vimanas are numerous, and highly detailed. The ancient Indians wrote entire flight manuals on the control of the various types of Vimanas, many of which are still in existence some have now been translated into English. Different types of Vimanas were described some were saucer shaped, others cigar shaped. The Vimanas appeared to be powered by some sort of anti-gravity device, as they took off vertically and were capable of hovering in the air.
THE NAZI CONNECTION
Interestingly, it was the Nazis who developed the first pulse-jet engines for use in their V-8 rocket bombs. Prior to and during World War II they had an intense interest in ancient civilisations, and India and Tibet in particular. They mounted many expeditions to these two countries in search of ancient knowledge and technologies. Perhaps it was from here that they gleaned critical information that enabled them to develop jet engine technology, and even saucer-shaped flying vehicles. It is a documented fact that the Nazis had their own flying saucer programme during the last war.
It is possible that knowledge of a previous highly advanced civilisation may have been preserved by ancient secret Brotherhoods. When Alexander the Great invaded India over two millennia ago, his scribes chronicled an attack by ‘flying fiery shields‘ that panicked the horses. These flying vehicles did not deploy any weapons against the invading army, which marched on to conquer the country. It has been speculated in many books that secret Brotherhoods have preserved and maintained Vimanas for many thousands of years. They are alleged to keep them hidden in caverns and underground bases.
The compelling temple carvings at Abydos and Karnak, and ancient texts from India and Tibet, speak of a bygone era when powered flight was highly advanced and even commonplace. They speak of a long-lost civilisation that was at least as advanced as our own. It was not a civilisation that existed three thousand years ago, but much further back in the mists of time a civilisation that was suddenly wiped from the face of the Earth. Unfortunately, as has been seen all too often, history has a habit of repeating itself.
The Mystery of the Abydos flying machines in ancient Egypt
I had not heard of the Abydos carvings before. But then we went to Egypt, and it turned out that my Dad had requested that Abydos be put on the schedule—even though it wasn’t a ‘usual’ tourist destination. (I still don’t know whether he’d come across these specific carvings as a reason to go there. Baba, will you leave a comment if you read this? :))
But the carvings were quite amazing. There they were—a few of them adjacent to each other, each apparently depicting something we’d recognize as a modern (or future) means of air travel. (I have my own photos, but it’s easier to link to photos online.)
Was this really evidence that the Egyptians knew how to fly—or at the least, had witnessed flying machines?
My immediate thought was an emphatic NO . Not simply because it sounds implausible, and not because I don’t believe in aliens. Even if it is possible, I had my own reasons: amongst other qualities, the Egyptians certainly had one—they were record-keepers. They kept extremely intricate records of everything they knew about—and repeated this knowledge everywhere they could: every temple, every column, every tomb.
Is it really possible that they witnessed something so—forgive my pun—out of this world, and only made ONE reference to it? One set of carvings, in one temple, located in a far corner, high above the ground, where it is easily missed? Now that is implausible.
Of course I looked online when I was back—and initially, this is the best explanation that I found. Apparently a set of carvings were recarved, i.e. more carvings were done on top of the original—each modification at different times, even—with the end result being what we see today. I did not like this explanation at all. The webpage has some detailed drawings, but—I didn’t like it. How many separate coincidences must there have been—over many centuries of recarvings, done intentionally by different sets of people—that such an intriguing piece would result? Again, implausible.
Now I’ve found a better explanation. And this involves more chance and less human intervention. Apparently there are other carvings found at the same temple, which have nothing at all to do with avionics, that can explain our mystery. It can be something as simple as an incomplete carving, coupled with damage over the millennia!
Seen side by side, this image and this one seem to indicate quite convincingly that our mystery panel was meant to be similar to the other, more conventional, carving.
Granted, it’s still quite a coincidence—alien theorists, you need not retire yet on this one—but it still seems an acceptable coincidence!
Are you convinced, or are you looking up at the sky, trying to look past those cloaking devices?
#4. Bestiality in ancient civilizations
As mentioned in my last blog post, I am examining ancient civilizations’ attitudes toward non-procreative sex acts as one way of evaluating the hypothesis that humans have evolved psychological adaptations to discourage us from engaging in these acts, or adaptations that cause us to morally condemn such actions in others. Last time I focused on ancient societies’ attitudes toward anal sex and masturbation, and for this post, I will look at their attitudes toward bestiality (human sexual contact with animals). Before we begin, I wanted to make a quick note about trying to identify moral attitudes in any given time or place: There is always a divergence between the standards actually practiced among the mass of the population, or what the majority of people consider permissible, versus the ideals enforced by legislators in these communities. This is especially important to keep in mind when examining cultural attitudes toward bestiality, because although laws and customs surrounding bestiality vary from condemnation to acceptance in different cultures, bestiality has been a part of human race throughout history, “in every place and culture in the world.” In fact, Hani Miletski argues that the abundance of information from around the world leaves no doubt that bestiality has been an “integral part of human life” since the dawn of civilization.
Practice of human-animal sex began at least in the Fourth Glacial Age (between 40,000-25,000 years ago), if not earlier. Cave drawings from the stone age demonstrate that prehistoric ancestors had frequent sexual relations with animals. Paintings and carvings of human-animal sexual acts in ancient religious temples also indicate the preoccupation of ancient men with bestiality. As for ancient civilizations, there was evidence of bestiality in the Ancient Near East, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, and Ancient Rome, but with varying legal consequences: Whereas some cultures did not punish bestiality at all, others subjected the bestialist and the animal to death.
Bestiality was practiced in Babylonia, the ancient Empire in Mesopotamia. In the Code of Hammurabi, King Hammurabi (1955-1913 BC) proclaimed death for any person engaging in bestiality. However, during the Spring Fertility Rites of Babylon, dogs and other animals were used for constant orgy for seven days and seven nights. The Book of Leviticus describes bestiality as being very widespread in the country of Canaan, which is perhaps why Hebrews later considered sexual relations with animals a way of worshipping other Gods (similar to homosexuality) and put the bestialist and animal to death.
Ancient Egyptians and Ancient Greeks both practiced bestiality and believed that it cured nymphomaniacs, but had differing legal consequences for engaging in human-animal sexual contact. Ancient Egypt portrayed bestiality on tombs and in their hieroglyphics, while Ancient Greece often used themes of bestiality in their mythology (e.g. Leda and the swan.) Ancient Greeks and Ancient Egyptians both incorporated bestiality into their religious practices. Ancient Egyptians engaged in “worshipful bestiality” with the Apis bull in Memphis, Egypt, and with goats at the Temple of Mendes. Similarly, Ancient Greeks engaged in bestiality during religious celebrations and festivals. Although several Egyptian kings and queens had a reputation for engaging in bestiality, and Egyptian men were known to have sexual intercourse with cattle, other large domesticated animals, crocodiles, and goats, bestiality was still punishable in Egypt by a variety of torture mechanisms, leading to death. In contrast, bestiality was never punishable in Ancient Greece.
Like the Ancient Greeks, the Ancient Romans also incorporated bestiality themes into their mythology. Although bestiality was particularly widespread among the shepherds, Roman women were also known to keep snakes for sexual purposes. Bestiality flourished as a public spectacle in ancient Rome, where the rape of women (and sometimes men) by animals were used to amuse the audience at the Colosseum and Circus Maximus. Similar to Ancient Egyptian leaders, many Roman emperors and their wives were known to engage in bestiality or to enjoy watching others engage in bestiality, including Emperor Tiberius and his wife Julia, Claudius, Nero, Constantine the Great, Theodora, and Empress Irene.
Many cultures in the Arab countries, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas had beliefs or customs that encouraged bestiality among its men. For example, the belief that bestiality would lead to enlargement of the human penis was fairly widespread. Arab men believed that intercourse with animals increased virility, cured diseases, and enlarged their penises. Likewise, among the Muslims in Morocco, fathers encouraged sons to practice sexual intercourse with donkeys to make their penises grow. Muslims believed that sex with animals prevented men from committing adultery. Turks also believed that sex with a donkey makes the human penis grow larger. Some nomad tribes in Africa incorporated intercourse with cattle as a ritual of passage for young males. Adolescent males in Ibo (Nigerian tribe), for example, had to “successfully” copulate with specially selected sheep in front of a circle of elders. Among other tribes, it was custom for hunters to engage in sexual acts with freshly slain animals while they were still warm. This custom was seen among the Yoruba (tribe in Nigeria), Plains Indians, the Canadian Indian tribe of the Saulteaux, and the Crow Indians. As for the Native Americans and Eskimos, bestiality varied from tribe to tribe, but was largely socially acceptable and went unpunished among Navajo Indians, Crow Indians, Hopi Indians, Sioux, Apache, Plains Indians, the Canadian Indian tribe of the Saulteaux, as well as the Kupfer and Copper Eskimos.
Taking into account the widespread practice of bestiality from the dawn of civilization, and the considerable variation in terms of laws either regulating or punishing the practice, it is not clear whether there is a human psychological mechanism that has evolved to condemn the practice. A problem with this research is that it is not apparent just how common bestiality was among these different cultures. In the future, it may be helpful to consider the cultures that did institute laws against bestiality, and their justifications for doing so.
Abydos carvings - History
What do the social histories of individuals contribute to writing the culture history of ancient Egypt? A key question in the study of Egypt, since it is the artifacts and inscriptions of particular ancie nt Egyptians that provide the most indigenous detail. A salient example of this phenomenon is the autobiography of the late Old Kingdom official Weni the Elder, who identifies himself as a prominent player on the stage of his times. One way to assess Weni's claim to fame is to consider all known physical evidence for this individual-archaeological setting and artifacts-alongside the idealized narrative of his funerary inscription, a process that we began for Weni during the 1999 excavation season (Spring 2000 Newsletter online at www.umich.edu/
kelseydb). This process allows us to contemplate such an individual within a larger physical landscape and to relate his material assemblage to more global themes, such as politics, society, magic, and the construction of personal identity.
Tangentially, to what degree can circumstantial passages in literary texts truly inform us of actual political events, despite the bias inherent in these ideologically purposeful media? One excerpt concerns a royal misdeed:
. . . Egypt will fight in the necropolis, destroying tomb-chambers in a destruction of deeds. I did the like, and the like happened, as is done to someone who goes against God in this way. . . . Look, a vile deed happened in my time the nome of Thinis was destroyed. (trans. R. Parkinson, The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Ancient Egyptian Poems, 1940-1640 BC , Oxford 1997)
These allusions to a sacrilegious event during the reign of a First Intermediate Period king-often interpreted as the destruction of the Abydos cemeteries-occur in the "Teaching for King Merikare." This Middle Kingdom text explores ideological themes of order versus chaos, and the king's role within that conflict, using the "vile deed" as a metaphor for chaos and an example of the human fallibility of the king. But where would we look for real, physical evidence of such an occurrence? If unruly troops did desecrate the necropolis at Abydos, their efforts would most logically focus on two particular areas. The most prominent manifestations of authority at the site were the Early Dynastic royal burials near the cliffs it has already been suggested by their excavator that the intense burning documented there might date to the civil unrest of the First Intermediate Period (2260-2040 BC). A second target might be the Middle Cemetery closer to the floodplain, home to the graves of important 5th and 6th Dynasty officials (c. 2407-2260 BC)-including that of the Governor of Upper Egypt Weni the Elder, who possessed the largest private monument in the low desert mortuary landscape.
The 2001 season of the Abydos Middle Cemetery Project had very limited goals, given its brevity (two months): to excavate and record the grave chambers of Weni the Elder and the overseer of priests Nekhty, whose door lintels we exposed in 1999 and to investigate an area south of Weni's mastaba that we thought might include debris from his burial chamber. The season's results also yielded, however, a surprising intersection of the two main issues raised above: the archaeology of events and the archaeology of people.
This year's crew included myself as director my U-M colleague Marjorie Fisher as epigrapher U-M graduate students Geoff Compton, Belgin Elbs, and Drew Wilburn, and undergraduate student Jason Sprague Arizona State and Johns Hopkins graduate students Korri Turner and J. J. Shirley photographers Yarko Kobylecky and Bob Fletcher Reis Ibrahim Mohammed Ali and archaeological specialists from the village of Quft a large crew of individuals from the villages at Abydos and the wonderful staff working in the dig house, headed up by house manager Ahmet Rageb. Mohammed Ali Abu el-Yazid graciously acted as inspector for the project we are grateful also to Dr. Yahia el-Misri and Mr. Ahmed el-Khattib for their support. Kelsey conservator Brook Bowman provided invaluable advice and finally, many thanks are due to Sharon Herbert, Terry Wilfong, and the staff of the Kelsey Museum.
Safety on site required special attention this year, given the depth of operations in both the Weni and Nekhty mudbrick grave shafts (12 and 9 meters underground, respectively), and stability issues for the Weni grave in particular. Benefiting from Rackham funds granted specifically for safety equipment, we acquired helmets, climbing harnesses, and particulate masks for everyone working underground, industrial strength pulleys and ropes to facilitate moving sand and debris to the surface, and two extremely strong 14-meter aluminum ladders. We were able to put in place a massive square steel construction around the top of the Weni shaft, which supported a brace for the 14-meter ladder and another spanner for the pulley, plus a solid wooden platform from which we negotiated ladder and pulley. We installed a similar arrangement over the Nekhty shaft, and in both contexts we adhered to a daily regime of casting pebbles and shining flashlights into both grave chambers before entering, to flush out any undesirable visitors (= snakes, especially of the horned viper category!). Once these various matters were resolved, the season's work progressed rapidly, thanks to a phenomenally hard-working crew.
Nekhty and the Archaeology of People: Whose Grave?
In 1999, we excavated the Nekhty grave shaft down to the lintel surmounting the door of the burial chamber, inscribed for a Prince, Count, and Overseer of priests Nekhty. Excavation this year revealed that the lintel surmounted an entrance whose lowest blocking stones were still in place, covered in thickly applied plaster. Inside the doorway was a low antechamber of roughly finished limestone blocks, only a meter and a half tall, followed by another, more finely inscribed and painted lintel, bearing the titles Sole Companion and Lector Priest but with no name visible. From the doorway, it was possible to see the lid end of the limestone coffin, inscribed for Nekhty.
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But then the plot thickened: excavation revealed that a secondary "floor" was put in at a height that obscured the lowest 60 centimeters of walls that were completely decorated with offering scenes and inscriptions. About the same time, we noticed that the bands of incised inscription around the top of the chamber were beautifully carved up to the grave owner's name, which was only painted over plaster. We observed that, furthermore, the blue paint in which Nekhty's name (and in some cases the title Overseer of Priests) occurred was not present in the rest of the decorative scheme. A closer look revealed that, in fact, Nekhty had plastered over the inscribed name of the original owner of the grave: Idi, a lector priest, royal treasurer, nomarch and governor of Upper Egypt, and that the secondary floor was laid intentionally to cover numerous repetitions of that original name, which occurred at the bottom of the menu list on the east wall. Taking a second look at the painted interior lintel, we realized that the rough blocks of the antechamber had been put in place in order to conceal the names and titles at the edges of the lintel. Finally, we noted that the lid of the coffin was five centimeters shorter than its base: Nekhty carved away an earlier inscription in order to place his own at the northern end of the coffin.
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Clearly, this expensive grave was originally built for Idi and then either taken over by or given to Nekhty. This identity shift was accomplished by the substitution of Nekhty's name for Idi's or simply concealment of the latter's name. Did Idi hand over his exceedingly well-built funerary monument willingly, or was he unseated in a provincial coup, with his grave co-opted as part of that political event? One theory about the end of the Old Kingdom is that overseers of priests (one of Nekhty's titles) took over the responsibilities of nomarchs (one of Idi's titles), so there is a possibility that the usurpation occurred as a result of the appropriation of power during the First Intermediate Period. Again, a line from the "Teaching for King Merikare" seems eerily pertinent: "Destroy not the monuments of another Build not your tomb chamber from ruins." Until further study, this remains only one hypothesis, but it is an intriguing one.
Identity, Memory, and the Archaeology of Events: Weni the Elder
But what of Weni the Elder? We rediscovered and began excavating his monumental mastaba grave north of the Nekhty/Idi grave in 1999, finding the original emplacement of his objects now in the Cairo Museum, a false door still in situ with his name and titles (as well as a few new ones), and a statue inscribed for him. By the end of the season we had exposed the lintel of his burial chamber, 10 meters down in the grave shaft. But, as with the Nekhty/Idi grave, we halted excavations due to lack of time and safety constraints. During that season we also noted an area south of Weni's mastaba that seemed to include deposits of the same clean sand encountered within the mastaba and artifacts of the kind usually associated with burial deposits, such as fine red ware bowl sherds. These data suggested to us that debris from Mariette's earlier excavations in the burial chamber itself might lie here.
Material recovered from that area during the recent season seems to confirm our suspicion, as a total of more than 120 linen-wrapped balls of natron emerged, along with a quantity of linen, two baskets' worth of fine Medum bowl sherds, six limestone canopic jar lids, and a packet that may contain entrails. From this fill we also excavated numerous fragments of granite, limestone, and calcite, from bowls or architectural elements. Mariette's men seem to have brought some of the materials from Weni's burial chamber up to the surface for processing, leaving behind the least desirable items. It is unfortunately probable that Weni himself was demolished in the search for valuables (a fate most likely shared by Nekhty). Bearing out the exceedingly complicated use history of the Middle Cemetery, beneath this deposit lay another substantial mastaba chapel, to which we will return in a future season.
This year we completed the excavation of the Weni grave shaft to a depth of 12 meters and also excavated its chamber. Surmounted by a barrel vault of mudbrick, the chamber is constructed entirely of massive limestone blocks. Measuring almost 7 meters north to south and 3 meters wide throughout, it is nearly twice as large as Nekhty's chamber, and the enormous limestone sarcophagus rests in a pit sunk into the rear of the chamber. As in the Nekhty grave, the burial chamber was originally carved and painted in a combination of raised relief and incised text. At some point in the life history of this tomb, however, the majority of the surface was severely burned at a very high temperature.
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That the fire was deliberately set is not to be doubted, given the thoroughness of the blackening and the visual evidence for some kind of oil having been applied to the wall surfaces. The top of the coffin was not included in this systematic burning, as only traces of soot remained on its surface the target seems to have been the walls. At the time of the fire, the chamber had already been entered from the door, and the only significant preserved paint was protected by fill sloping in from the shaft. At some point, the chamber was entered through the ceiling from the barrel vault and subsequently sealed with rough stones, suggesting that attention was paid to resecuring the grave.
Despite the burning, the decorative scheme is discernible, including friezes of funerary objects, funerary invocations, and a "menu list," each vertical line of which ends with Weni's name. Notable throughout the chamber is that any potentially harmful hieroglyphs were deliberately left unfinished: Weni's epithet smsw (the Elder) is depicted without legs or torso, while the horned viper of the consonant f is shown with a disabled head. This deliberate mutilation of hieroglyphs is a function of the apparent prohibition against the representation of human figures in 6th Dynasty grave chambers: Weni apparently felt that the epithet smsw was so integral to his identity that it required inclusion, but with magical precautions taken.
Why was Weni's chamber burned so viciously? One working theory might identify the event as part of the "vile deed" of which the "Teaching for King Merikare" speaks: "destroying tomb chambers in a destruction of deeds." The obvious intent completely to obscure the decoration of Weni's chamber, the fact that this episode seems to have taken place early in the post-depositional history of the grave, and evidence from the 1999 season regarding the ancient bricking up of both Weni's northern false door and eastern chapel on the surface-thus sealing off his public display of glorious deeds-make this theory an intriguing possibility, given that Weni's grave was the most prominent private symbol of wealth and power in the Abydos low desert. The results of this short but extremely productive season therefore have yielded some tantalizing correspondences between textual and archaeological evidence in the late Old Kingdom and First Intermediate Period, which we hope to continue investigating in future seasons.
Project funding was provided by the Kelsey Museum, the National Geographic Society, the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies, the Near Eastern Studies Department, the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, Terry Rakolta, and an anonymous donor.
Copyright © 2001 The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.
Senebkay: Archaeologists Find ‘Lost’ Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt
U.S. archaeologists digging at Abydos, Egypt say they have discovered the tomb of Woseribre-Senebkay, a previously unknown Egyptian pharaoh who ruled during the Second Intermediate Period, shortly before 1650 BC.
The cartouche of a newly discovered pharaoh, Woseribre Senebkay, inside the king’s burial tomb. Image credit: Jennifer Wegner, Penn Museum.
The excavations at Abydos during the 2013 season have yielded numerous finds including a royal tomb with a large sarcophagus weighing almost 60 tons.
The tomb was uncovered close to the recently discovered tomb of Sobekhotep (1780 BC), the first king of 13th Dynasty.
According to the archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania, the sarcophagus, of red quartzite quarried and transported to Abydos from Gebel Ahmar, near Cairo, dates to ca. 1650 BC.
Painted decoration in the burial chamber of the pharaoh Woseribre Senebkay. Image credit: Jennifer Wegner, Penn Museum.
They identified it as belonging to a previously unknown pharaoh named Woseribre Senebkay – one of the earliest kings of a forgotten Abydos Dynasty, contemporary with the 15th (Hyksos) and 16th (Theban) Dynasties. The existence of this dynasty was first hypothesized by Prof Kim Ryholt from the University of Copenhagen in 1997.
The tomb of Senebkay consists of 4 chambers with a limestone burial chamber, painted with images of the goddesses Nut, Nephthys, Selket, and Isis flanking the ruler’s canopic shrine.
Other texts name the sons of Horus and record the king’s titulary and identify him as the ‘king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Woseribre, the son of Re, Senebkay.’
The tomb was badly plundered by ancient robbers who had ripped apart the king’s mummy as well as stripped the tomb equipment of its gilded surfaces.
Close up of Penn Museum excavations of a recently discovered royal chamber at Abydos, Egypt, June 2013. The discovery of this chamber led researchers to the nearby tomb of a previously unknown pharaoh, Woseribre Senebkay. Image credit: Josef Wegner, Penn Museum.
Nevertheless, the archaeologists recovered the Senebkay’s remains amidst debris of his fragmentary coffin, funerary mask, and canopic chest.
Preliminary work on the king’s skeleton indicates he was a man of moderate height, around 1.75 m, and died in his mid to late 40s.
According to the team, the discovery of Senebkay now identifies the location of the Abydos Dynasty’s royal necropolis at South Abydos in an area anciently called Anubis-Mountain.
The kings of this dynasty placed their burial ground adjacent to the tombs of earlier Middle Kingdom pharaohs. There is evidence for about 16 royal tombs spanning the period 1650-1600 BC.
The scientists say the Senebkay’s name may have appeared in a broken section of the famous Turin King List, a papyrus dating to the reign of Ramses II, 1200 BC, where two kings with the throne name ‘Woser … re’ are recorded at the head of a group of more than a dozen kings, most of whose names are entirely lost.
A painted scene of the goddesses Neith and Nut, protecting the canopic shrine of the pharaoh Woseribre Senebkay. Image credit: Jennifer Wegner, Penn Museum.
The tomb of pharaoh Senebkay is modest in scale. An important discovery was the badly decayed remains of Senebkay’s canopic chest. This chest was made of cedar wood that had been reused from the nearby tomb of Sobekhotep I and still bore the name of that earlier king, covered over by gilding.
Such reuse of objects from the nearby Sobekhotep tomb by Senebkay, like the reused sarcophagus chamber found during the summer, provides evidence that suggests the limited resources and isolated economic situation of the Abydos Kingdom which lay in the southern part of Middle Egypt between the larger kingdoms of Thebes and the Hyksos in northern Egypt.
Unlike these numbered dynasties, the pharaohs of the Abydos Dynasty were forgotten to history and their royal necropolis unknown until this discovery of Senebkay’s tomb.
“It’s exciting to find not just the tomb of one previously unknown pharaoh, but the necropolis of an entire forgotten dynasty,” said team leader Dr Josef Wegner of the Penn Museum.
“Continued work in the royal tombs of the Abydos Dynasty promises to shed new light on the political history and society of an important but poorly understood era of Ancient Egypt.”
Mysterious hieroglyphs in Ancient Egyptian Temple depict flying machines
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Does this Temple of Ancient Egypt have depictions of flying machines? According to many, the mysterious hieroglyphs inside this Ancient Egyptian Temple depict flying machines.
A strange set of hieroglyphs found at Abydos, Egypt. Do they actually depict modern day machines, such as helicopters, planes, and submarines? Image credit: Wikimedia
Ancient Egypt has since always been connected to magical and incredible stories that stretch across the land of the Pharaohs. While most people connect Ancient Egypt with the might Pyramids at the Giza plateau, the truth is that there are countless other sites in Egypt that are as incredible as the Pyramids of Giza.
One of those incredible ancient sites is, without a doubt, the Temple of Seti located in Abydos. There, we will find one of the most interesting and enigmatic pieces of hieroglyphs, carved on a heavy stone slab that supports the ceiling of this amazing temple. The Abydos temple honored numerous deities, including Isis, Horus, Set, Amun-Re, Re-Horakhty, and Ptah.
Many researchers claim that the enigmatic carvings actually depict modern-day flying machines such as helicopters, airplanes, and even submarines, while skeptics remain confident that this is just another example of Pareidolia, and that we are being tricked by our brain, into seeing familiar shapes.
The enigmatic Temple of Abydos, commissioned by Set I and his son Ramses II has been the center of debate for years, where researchers from around the world have discussed the possibility that the mysterious carvings in the Temple actually depict modern-day vehicles, and if they do, where did the ancients see them? The possibility that these hieroglyphs actually depict modern-day vehicles raises numerous questions: Did the Ancient Egyptians see similar vehicles in the past? Do these hieroglyphs prove ancient man was visited by highly advanced beings in the past? And is it possible that there are other temples or sites in ancient Egypt depicting similar things?
When word about the hieroglyphs go out, many believed the image was a fake, at that time, no one could understand the incredible similarity between the hieroglyphs and modern-day vehicles such as helicopters. But even though some of us would love for these ancient hieroglyphs to depict actual modern-day machines, most archeologists claim that this is the result of Palimpsest, where Egyptologists actually identified overlapping of the hieroglyphics in the above image.
Modern day researchers state that it is likely that the original hieroglyphs were erased in the distant past and replaced by a set of new glyphs which made the new ones resemble today’s vehicles. But what are the chances of something like this happening? However, even though many mainstream researchers accept the theory that the glyphs were retouched in the distant past, there are many others who believe that these hieroglyphs are still a mystery and that an acceptable scientific conclusion is needed.
But how likely is it that the mysterious hieroglyphs at the Temple of Seti 1 are a product of palimpsest? (A palimpsest is a manuscript page, either from a scroll or a book, from which the text has been either scraped or washed off so that the page can be reused, for another document) (source).
The incredible depictions seen in the temple of Abydos are clean and precise and you cannot find a single place inside the temple where hieroglyphs were sloppy or out of place.
While re-carving inscriptions was a common practice in ancient Egypt, the temple of Abydos does not have sloppy hieroglyphs anywhere in it. This makes it very difficult to assume that the ancient Egyptians decided to recurve some of the parts of the temple, creating what appear to be mysterious depictions of objects resembling modern-day vehicles.
Sloppy hieroglyphs or depictions of real-life vehicles that the ancient Egyptians saw thousands of years ago? You decide!
When was the Abydos temple built?
Duration of building the temple: 20 years.
What does Abydos mean?
Abydos is the capital of the provinces in the civilization of ancient Egypt.
- The area was named after the burial deity’s deer.
- The first person to pronounce the word Abydos is Greece, then it has been corrupted into the word Abjo.
Why was Abydos an important site?
The cult of the god Osiris, the most important religious belief of the ancient Egyptians Pharaohs.
How old is Abydos?
Who built the temple?
King Seti I built the temple and then after his death King Ramses II completed the construction and built some buildings in it.
Abydos Temple Facts:
- The temple is considered one of the Pharaonic funerary temples.
- The architectural design of the temple is different from the rest of the Pharaonic temples, where the design was based on a right angle and not a rectangle.
- The temple was named after Birding, meaning the family home in the ancient Egyptian language.
- The temple was considered a kiss by the ancient Egyptians to perform the pilgrimage, just as they believed in the god Osiris.
- Fourteen graves of workers were found next to the temple.
- 76 names of the pharaohs were discovered on the walls of the temple, known as the name plate of the kings.
What are the inscriptions of the legend of Isis and Osiris?
The texts and engravings on the walls have been translated into legend between three gods, Isis, Osiris, and Set.
A conflict occurred between Set and Osiris over the verdict. Six invited him to a dinner party, then drunk him, then threw it in a coffin and then threw it in an unknown remote place after cutting 14 parts.
Isis liked Osiris with great love that reached love, she decided to search for parts until all the parts were collected and then she slept over the body and the legend tells that she was pregnant from Osiris and gave birth to Horus.
Over time Horus killed six and seized the throne again.
Abydos Temple Plan & Map:
This temple must have originally been a luxurious building with a length of around the main axis of 520 feet, but its front courtyards were destroyed until the foundations, and only the structure was left with its side rooms, and the weepy with carved columns in the form of the papyrus bud that are its current façade, and this weeping now includes nine Columns are upright and part of a tenth column, behind which is the wall of the rooms.
King Seti I Temple has two halls for the first columns with 24 round pillars topped by crowns in the form of papyrus buds and the second lobby with 36 columns spread over three ceilings.
Inside Abydos Temple:
This temple differs from the other temples. Instead of a single cabin or a tripartite structure, it contains seven booths in the middle of the shrine of Amun Re on the naval side, the booths of the third Osirian “Isis – Osiris – Horus” and on the western side there are the shrines of Hurtih – Ptah – King I the same himself.
On the sea side of the temple wall there are remains of milk buildings, which may have been warehouses of the temple.
All the inscriptions on the wall of the temple express the precision with which Egyptian art was distinguished and all are preserved with its colors and clarity of many fine details.
Temple Osireion Abydos:
You will see a small water building, which is a channel filled with water that rises with the time of the flooding of the Nile River, where grain growing in the flood was placed as a symbol for the ancient Egyptians to bring life back.
In the middle of the channel you will see a coffin.
Abidos List – Temple of Abydos Helicopter:
It is a list that contains 76 names starting from King Mina to King Seti I, and in front of the list, King Seti I stands holding a tree and the king stands next to him inherited by King Ramses II. This read is important sources of history in the arrangement of the Pharaohs of Egypt, but King Seti I deliberately neglecting to mention the names of some of the kings on Considering that they are illegitimate, such as Queen Hatshepsut, Akhenaten, “Smtahta”, Tutankhamun.
Abidos List – Temple of Abydos Helicopter
The city of “Abjou” Abydos, famous for its burial godmother, is located 11 km southwest of Balina. It has many monuments that shed light throughout the historical ages, from the beginning of the families to the end of historical times.
Its importance is due to the construction of the tombs of the ancient era, their tombs on the desert preserve, and a general feeling of glorification towards the sacred spots in which the tombs of the early pharaohs grew. Abydos was associated with God, the god of eternity, and the legend states that King Osiris was killed and cut into pieces, and that the head of Osiris was buried. Every Egyptian can be buried – in or near the area and become a place of pilgrimage in religious ceremonies throughout the ages.
Abydos Temple Location:
- Sunday 7:00 AM – 05:00 PM
- Monday 7:00 AM – 05:00 PM
- Tuesday 7:00 AM – 05:00 PM
- Wednesday 7:00 AM – 05:00 PM
- Thursday 7:00 AM – 05:00 PM
- Friday 7:00 AM – 05:00 PM
- Saturday 07:00 AM – 05:00 PM
Temple tickets prices:
- The price of entry ticket for Egyptians = 10 Egyptian pounds
- The price of the entry ticket for the Egyptian student = 5 Egyptian pounds
- The price of entry ticket for foreign tourists = 60 Egyptian pounds
- The price of the entry ticket for the foreign student = 30 Egyptian pounds
Written by: Tamer Ahmed Abdel Fattah, Egypt
Researcher in the history of Egyptian civilization – tourist marketer
I hope you like my article about the temple of your liking and get to know a research about ancient Pharaonic civilization and more.
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