|Certain hieroglyphics at Abydos, in Middle Egypt (about 300 miles south of Cairo), dating to the 19th Dynasty (about the time scholars assign to the Hebrew Exodus), have been interpreted as depicting 20th-century-style war machines. The images are interpreted as a helicopter, a tank with a gun barrel, a jet fighter and an object similar to a Star Wars anti-gravity “land speeder.” The theory is that these images hark back to prehistoric (more than 6000 years ago and perhaps 13,000 years ago) technology, and that Pharaoh Seti I and his son Pharaoh Ramses II understood their significance. The hieroglyphics are depicted in association with one of Ramses II’s own wars.
|The image above is based on a black and white photograph of the Abydos panel taken by a tourist named Bruce Rawles, in 1992, and presented here under the rules of fair use.
Egyptologists protest that chipped plaster is responsible for the images. They explain that the hieroglyphics were carved into plaster applied over earlier hieroglyphics. When the plaster fell off, the original images overlapped the newer ones, and the result was the vague images being interpreted as war vehicles.
Katherine Griffis-Greenberg, of the University of Alabama, in Birmingham, is also a member of both the American Research Center in Egypt and the International Association of Egyptologists. She translated the hieroglyphics in question as follows:
“It was decided in antiquity to replace the five-fold royal titulary of Seti I with that of his son and successor, Ramesses II. In the photos, we clearly see “Who repulses the Nine Bows,” which figures in some of the Two-Ladies names of Seti I, replaced by “Who protects Egypt and overthrows the foreign countries,” a Two-Ladies name of Ramesses II. With some of the plaster that once covered Seti I’s titulary now fallen away, certain of the superimposed signs do indeed look like a submarine, etc., but it’s just a coincidence. What is happening in the photographs is quite clear; just consult Juergen von Beckerath, Handbuch der aegyptischen Koenigsnamen, Muenchner aegyptologische Studien 20, pages 235 and 237. This issue comes up from time to time on such academic e-mail lists as the Ancient Near East (ANE) List and so on, so we’re all pretty familiar with it.”
Although many of the hieroglyphics in the Abydos Temple were documented by the famous French archaeologist Auguste Mariette (1821-1881) (“Abydos: description des fouilles executees sur l’emplacement de cette ville,” vol. I, Paris 1869), the theory that fallen plaster is responsible for the images has not been the focus of a new study to settle the issue. However, it was usual in the New Kingdom, when Seti and Ramses lived, for plaster to be used when new hieroglyphics replaced older writings. Erosion of the surface of the Abydos panel, similar to the erosion on the roof of the Abydos Temple iself, has also been offered as an explanation for the formation of the images being compared to war vehicles.
The idea that the Abydos hieroglyphics depict war vehicles produces a tremendous clash with the technological level archaeologists have uncovered from the time the Abydos panel was inscribed and with all previous historic and prehistoric findings. Airplanes demand a great deal of associated technology. Except for gliders, a knowledge of engines and fuels is also paramount.
What are the chances that Ramses II understood the significance of a tank with a gun barrel or a Star Wars anti-gravity vehicle? His own war vehicle was a horse-drawn chariot. His weapon included a bow and arrow.
|Credit for the illustration above: D. Barnard, London (after Lepsius and Helck) published in “The Atlas of Ancient Egypt,” by John Baines and Jaromir Malek, Facts on File, Inc., NY (1984), page 202.
Would the important discovery of prehistoric high technology by Ramses or his father appear only in one isolated panel? Would not the mighty technology appear in all of Ramses’s war scenes? Depictions like the horse drawn chariot above are painted on the temple walls showing Ramses II in battle.
Today, it is difficult for anyone to comprehend the technology that will exist in 50 or even 20 years because of the rapid speed at which technology is advancing. Could people in the 19th Dynasty understand technology so far removed from their own? When the Abydos panel was inscribed in the 19th Dynasty, iron was considered a precious metal because of its hardness and rarity. The best tools were made with stone, bronze or iron.
The evidence shows that people lived in mud-brick houses until Roman times. The pharaohs lived in beautifully adorned palaces made of mud-brick and wood. People rose and retired according to the hours of daylight. Open fires and oil lamps provided light at night. People bathed in the Nile River. Most people–even members of royalty–lived no longer than 35 years.
Tomb and temple depictions of chariots show wheels that are unacceptable for modern transportation. Reginald Engelbach, Chief Inspector of Antiquities of Upper Egypt early in the 20th century, described the wheels of the period of history when the Abydos hieroglyphics were inscribed:
“As far as is known, the wheel played a very small part in the life of the ancient Egyptian; the word for it is almost certainly of foreign origin, and it is not found applied to chariots or wagons until the New Kingdom, though this may well be because horses do not appear in Egypt much before that date. The wheels of the known Egyptian chariots are extremely flimsy affairs, and it is doubtful if any wheel built on lines similar to those which have come down to us would take any load or endure hard wear. …all known evidence of the methods of transport for building materials used by the Egyptians indicates that the sled alone was used.”
Today, even in the poorest of households of technologically advanced countries, there is abundant evidence of the prevailing technology. Indoor plumbing, electrical wiring, appliances and batteries are all common. The poorest neighborhoods exhibit factories, and gasoline stations are in almost every town. Buildings are made with steel support structures in most places. Stainless steel, rubber and plastic are everywhere. It would be impossible for future archaeologists not to find traces of the technology that supports the existence of modern tanks and other war vehicles.
Advocates of high ancient technology speculate that a polar shift destroyed all of the evidence of high technology. But they also speculate that the high technology existed from 6,000 to 13,000 years ago. There is no evidence of a polar shift dating from those times. If a great cataclysm destroyed an advanced culture, there would be evidence of the cataclysm. Where is the supporting evidence for such a cataclysm in Egypt?
For the idea of 20th-century-style war vehicles to hold, there must be other evidence of high technology. The Abydos panel has no strength in isolation. Proponents of advanced technology point to an object found at Saqqara, not far from the Great Pyramid of Giza, that was originally labeled as “a wooden bird model.” See the image located immediately below. It has neither a propeller nor any indication of an engine or engine compartment.
|Photographic credits for the image immediately above are unknown and not displayed with this photograph at
The ancient Egyptians possessed boomerangs and beautifully crafted game boards and toys. The model may show that, inspired by birds, the ancient Egyptians also crafted gliders, similar to today’s paper airplanes.
A larger issue concerning high technology in ancient Egypt has loomed since the beginning of Egyptology, the question of how the ancient Egyptians produced monuments that defy the most modern means of cutting and lifting stone. For instance, 1000-ton and heavier monolithic granite colossi were built for Pharaoh Ramses II .The earlier 18th Dynasty twin Colossi of Memnon, dedicated to Pharaoh Amenhotep III, are made of quartzite. It is very difficult to drill quartzite with the most advanced modern machinery. Positioning the colossi of Ramses II and the Colossi of Memnon would pose a tremendous challenge for today’s largest cranes.
Click here for an article titled “The Giza Power Plant Meltdown!,” which shows why cranes and super-drilling devices were not needed to make artifacts that have defied conventional explanation.
Proponents of the idea that prehistoric Egypt possessed 20th-century-style war vehicles, depicted during the 19th Dynasty, assert that it is a statistical improbability that four depictions of such craft exist together in one hieroglyphic panel as the result of missing plaster. However, we must reduce the figure to three because one is fictional i.e. the “Star Wars” anti-gravity “land speeder.”
We must also consider that if Seti or Ramses found such vehicles or depictions of them, the scribes who rendered them would have added more detail. It is also reasonable to suggest that, if the 19th Dynasty discovered advanced, prehistoric war vehicles or evidence of such vehicles, their images would appear in Ramses’s other battle scenes.
When considering statistical improbabilities, we must consider the odds that all actual physical traces of jet planes, tanks and helicopters have completely disappeared while artifacts of the Stone Age, Calcolithic, Bronze and Iron Age have survived. We must consider the odds of all traces of a cataclysm, like a polar shift, being wiped away. We must consider the odds of prehistoric people not only developing the same technology as the 20th century, but also the same fictional “Star Wars” design.
People commonly see vague images of faces and other objects on rocks, trees and clouds. In doing that, people are projecting their own perceptions (and sometimes agendas) onto the objects. In a like manner, people are projecting modern images onto the Abydos panel.
The burden of proof is upon those advocating radical revisions of ancient history and prehistory. At this point, their evidence, highly speculative and questionable as it is, is insignificant compared to the substantial evidence associated with accepted theories. Thus, at this point, a prudent person cannot regard these alternative revisionist theories as anything other than speculation.