The temple of Seti I, an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh, contains an intriguing set of hieroglyphs that have been inspiring discussion for years.
The glyphs appear to display a selection of very modern technological wonders—transports, such as helicopters and airplanes—which would not exist for thousands of years after the initial inscription was carved into stone.
In a recent debate in Wiltshire, England, touring UFO enthusiast Steve Mera argued that these glyphs are proof that the ancient Egyptians had some access to very advanced technology, possibly thanks to visitors from another world.
“Look, it has what looks like the rotor blade and here is what looks like a rudder. And what about this? Is that a rudder and this the wing? I am not saying that this is a helicopter, but it is worth considering. Why would they put these images in and had they seen them?”
This argument comes up a lot with regards to the hieroglyphs found in Seti I’s temple. After all, the place is named “SETI”—what more of a reference to alien life do people need?
The idea that the ancient architects must have had extraterrestrial visitors is commonplace in modern conspiracy theories, as anyone who’s seen the “Aliens” History Channel meme can attest. Many believe, for whatever reason, that the Egyptians simply weren’t smart enough to be able to figure out complex geometry and architecture themselves, and they, therefore, needed off-world assistance in building the pyramids.
This is a somewhat patronizing assumption to make about the Egyptians and their ability to stack blocks on top of each other. In truth, the process through which the pyramids were created, and the many attempts to perfect the angles needed for the structures, are well documented within writings from the time.
There’s also a far more simple explanation as to why Seti I’s temple contains such strange hieroglyphs—it was an ancient attempt at Photoshop.
Egyptian pharaohs had a good understanding of the importance of proper branding, and of using religion and art to further their own public image. Often when one king replaced another, he or she would strip down old monuments and rewrite historical records in order to make themselves the center of the universe.
In the case of Seti I’s temple, Ramses II came along at a later date and essentially got someone to write his name in place of the previous pharaoh. This involved filling in the old name with plaster, then carving Ramses on top of where Seti was once written.
Over centuries, the filler that was used on the inscription has worn away, leaving Seti and Ramses’ names both written on top of each other. Because the human brain is good at interpreting pictures to mean whatever we want it to, the result looks like a helicopter and a fighter jet.
There is, alas, no big mystery here. In referencing the Temple of Seti, Steve Mara has only managed to highlight his own ignorance about the subjects that he’s so eager to debate at length.
But, hey, facts can often be a buzzkill. Surely nothing bad ever comes from wild speculation and refusing to admit defeat when you’re clearly ignorant, right? Right?