Talk:Dendera Temple complex

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Unsolved problems?[edit]

It looks to me like this page should not be listed as an unsolved problem in Egyptology. From reading the page, I gather that there is a consensus among Egyptologists that the ancient Egyptians did not build or draw light bulbs. --Allen 23:55, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Maybe move it to Pseudoarchaeology? -- Limulus 03:22, 12 February 2006 (UTC)


this article needs a picture! --Awiseman 04:54, 27 June 2006 (UTC)


Post-modernism disgusts me! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dreddnott (talkcontribs)

"Other egyptologists"[edit]

What exactly do you mean by "other egyptologists" (in contrast to "traditionally egyptologists")? Those who haven't a formal eduacation in egyptology? --Pjacobi 18:22, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

  • Seeing no answer I'd assume that "traditionally egyptologists" should be equated with "egyptologists" and "other egyptologists" with "non-egyptologists". Also checked the german parallel article. There is no controversy in contemporary egyptology. --Pjacobi 21:19, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
    • The german article calls it "UFO belief". Ha! That's too funny. I have not heard that from serious researchers. Just because the egyptians had some form of understanding of electical phenonomena does not mean it had a UFO origin. HaHaHa ... J. D. Redding 02:07, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

It's in the citations. There is controversy in contemporary egyptology (among various researchers and even between egyptologists). Read up on history before you delete things/alter them to ignore the differences of opinion. J. D. Redding 01:31, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

You don't give references to contemporary egyptology. Citing 19th century stuff doesn't help. --Pjacobi 09:58, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Get some of your own references. Cite some sources. You have no idea of history; do you have any historical studies training? Historical references are valid in historical articles. J. D. Redding 10:46, 3 April 2007 (UTC) (PS., read up on what egyptology is and the who contribute to egyptology; it's not just egyptology is (a subdivision of a much larger field) ... there are others that contribute to egyptology that are not "egyptologists".)

You cannot proof a negative. If you want to put in, that there is a controversy within contemporary egyptology, you better can provide references to this. Giving turn of the century (19th to 20th, that's the point) references is a smokescreen only. --Pjacobi 11:07, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Have no citations do you?

And ... turn of the century references, or any historical references, are valid for historical articles!

Anyways ...

There is a controversy within historical and various other research concerning this. I'll have to goto the library to get some more references (it's almost always listed in "historical mysteries" books). This isn't some "new thing". It's also been on the telly and in books. J. D. Redding 11:16, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

I wouldn't doubt a popular discussion of this topic, even notable enough to be mentioned here by WP:FRINGE, but academic egyptology has made up its mind by now. --Pjacobi 11:21, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Please give the references for the "academic egyptology has made up its mind". Thanks. J. D. Redding 11:24, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

No, he doesn't really have to. It is you who has to find real Egyptologists who do support this if you want it mentioned as a legitimate inquest in the discipline. Egyptologists do not interact with these kinds of theories. They reject them outright and ignore them. Thanatosimii 19:07, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

article disputes[edit]


Please list the specific neutrality issues. If no response, tag should be removed. J. D. Redding

Emphasizing the fringe POV that there is an Unsolved problem[s] in Egyptology: Did Egyptians have some form of understanding of electricity? Did the Egyptians use batteries? What is the relief at Dendera?, for a start. --Pjacobi 11:42, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Fringe or alternative. Ok, make this more explicit. AND, this is a part of the unsolved problems. J. D. Redding 16:23, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

So ... listing actions and under each bullet comments ... J. D. Redding 17:33, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Already cited:

  • Did Egyptians have some form of understanding of electricity?


  • Did the Egyptians use batteries?

There is a needed citations for:

  • What is the relief at Dendera?
    • Note that this question does not just concern the dendera lamp, but also the astrological/astronomical relief talked about above in the article.

factual accuracy[edit]

Please list the factual accuracy issues. If no response, tag should be removed. J. D. Redding

Presenting this fringe POV as a minority POV within Egyptology. --Pjacobi 11:44, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

This needs to be removed. It is a significant "minority" view AND it is held by researchers in Egyptology, some Egyptologists [will get references a.s.a.p.], scientific researchers, and some scholars (contributors to Egyptology do not have to be Egyptologists). Thats is a misreading of yours (@least by the time you posted the comment, this change was made, IIRC). J. D. Redding 16:24, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

No, this is not accepted withing Egyptology. Do not believe the sources you are reading, I can assure you they will not pass WP:RS. Thanatosimii 19:02, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

J. Norman Lockyer "Dawn of Astronomy"[edit]

The citation Norman Lockyer, "Dawn of Astronomy". Kessinger Publishing, 1992. 448 pages. ISBN 1564591123 is misleading. J. Norman Lockyer was a Fellow of the Royal Society. a scholar active in the late 19th century. The Dawn of Astronomy was originally published in 1894, under the Royal imprint, London, according to the February, 1894 Publisher's Weekly The Astronomical Society of Pacific reviewed the book in their January 1, 1894 number (page 126). Kessinger's is a reprint house of dubious repute, according to Denny Hatch, of Business Common Sense, a newsletter. Kessinger has simply provided an ISBN number and a new publishing date for old material, and appear to have made an image copy of a nineteenth century copy of the book (my opinion, based on the reproduction of the Kessinger edition in Google Books). I recommend that this citation be restated as an 1894 work so that readers may be aware of the true age of the scholarship and make up their own minds as to its utility. Also, trusting that he had been quoted correctly, Dr. Lockyer used the word "possibly." Should academic speculation that is more than a hundred years old carry much weight here?

The paragraph employing this citation is replete with weasel words (i.e. "Some have suggested that", "other Egyptology researchers that believe", "interpreted by some" )and should be rewritten to Wikipedia Manual of Style standards. In what journals have such beliefs been stated? Who are the scholars stating such beliefs? Who is doing the interpretation, and what is their established competencies in reading and interpreting ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and wall art? In my opinion, a shape which reminds a twentieth century observer of a light bulb does not justify the leap to the conclusion that an Egyptian carver had a light bulb in mind. The chain of reasoning needs to be proven, not assumed. These are my responses to Pjacobi request for comment. Take care. — Gosgood 14:13, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

How is this misrepresented?!?!?! So if I use a new republish work, say of James Clerk Maxwell or Oliver Heaviside, those should also state the orifginal publication dates? ....

J. Norman Lockyer, "Dawn of Astronomy". Kessinger Publishing, 1992. 448 pages. ISBN 1564591123 Page 180. (cf., "[...] possibility that the electric light was known to the Ancient Egyptians.)"

But your suggestions will be incorporated somehow. J. D. Redding 16:11, 4 April 2007 (UTC) (BTW, you can republish public domain work, that is what Wikipedia is doing on alot of things, FWIW; is wikipedia of "dubious repute" because it contains, unintentionally mainly I would guess fron it's contributors, material not fully out of copyright?)

PS., I was editing here when the guideline [not policy] on "weasel words" was made. It is not effective guideline, as my vote on the subject shows. But I will try to appease the POV.

Misrepresentation: Those readers unfamiliar with J. Norman Lockyer read the reference and might assume someone named Lockyer published a book called Dawn of Astronmy in 1992 that had advanced some aspect of research of ancient Egyptian culture. Wikipedia can usefully educate such readers by identifying the work as being originally published in 1894, and reprinted in 1992 by Kessigner's. So informed, these readers may still feel that it is worth their while to buy a reprint of this long out-of-print book and make up their mind about this good, but dated, work. Without such a warning, readers may pay Kessigners with the belief that they are obtaining work of a scholar active in the last decade, and instead obtain the work of a scholar active over a century ago. Apart from the title page and a booklist placed in the front matter, Kessengers provides only a hardcopy of an image scan of a nineteenth century volume; nothing contempory has been added to the title. It is, as they assert, a reprint. In light of that, I see no harm, and some good, in Wikipedia putting paid to this particular source of confusion and rephrasing the reference to accurately reflect the nature of this reprint publication. I feel the same way about reprints of works of James Clerk Maxwell, Oliver Heaviside, or any scholar whose work stems from a different era. If a contemporary publisher is reprinting long out of print work of these scholars, the reference to the reprint should reflect the era from which the work stems. In no manner should such old works be construed as scholarship participating in contemporary debates.
Weasel Words: Agree that guidlines are not policy, note that the concept was debated and that not all editors like it. It is a rare guideline that is universally accepted. In this particular case, I find sentences that are still, as of April 05, 2007, resembling the canonical examples given at Wikipedia:Avoid weasel words. They convey nothing of practical substance, though they may be technically valid grammatically and are logically unassailable.
To illustrate, if my broker recommends an investment solely on the basis that "some people believe it is a good deal." I would hang onto my money. The sentence my broker used may be true, may even have been sincerely given, but it conveys nothing upon which one can base a risk assessment, so the broker has uttered nothing useful. Similarly, one could say with a perfectly straight face that "many people assert the Earth is flat." If the belief is held by a mere one tenth of one percent of the population, one can fill a modest sized town with believers. That quantity strictly falls under the meaning of "many" but conveys nothing useful in assessing how widely the belief is held. "It has been suggested that, orbiting around Tau Ceti, there is an asteroid comprised entirely of chocolate cake." The sentence is not about anyone's assertion. It is about the suggestion of some possible circumstance around a distant star. Our data gathering capabilities cannot at present dismiss such a suggestion, but in practice, the sentence extends our understanding of Tau Ceti not a whit. It is a collection of words that conveys vanishingly little content; it may impress a few uncritical readers who do not mind parsing a lot of words for very little information.
Recomendation: Remove the entire paragraph under the heading Dendera Light. The language is almost entirely like cotton candy, with so many words saying so very little: Some Egyptologists (number, academic standing, unstated) suggest the possibility that ancient Egyptians had a working electrical technology, This, to my mind, sums up the section. The suggestion of the possibility of the existence of ancient Egyptian electrical technology approaches that of the suggestion of a chocolate cake asteroid orbiting around Tau Ceti, technically unrefutable, but practically uninformative. References supporting this rather thin assertion about a suggestion are mainly drawn from a century ago, and in one case a particular reference is being expoloited. That J. N. Lockyer entertained the possibility of an electric lamp's use in ancient Egypt is stretched to support "The suggestion ... that electric arc lamps were used." If he were alive, would Lockyer support such a stretch of his "passing" suggestion?
Comment: I find the wordplay of inflating very small ideas with a lot of words, and dragging in a large number of references that are old, and support the material only somewhat tangentially, too uncomfortably reminiscent of my own college day efforts of commencing papers the night before they were due: creating the appearance of effort as a theatrical substitute for the effort itself. I think Wikipedia deserves better, but that is just my Point of View. Take care. Gosgood 17:12, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree that references, if known it is a reprint, could mention this editions / reprint status. But this is not always known nor always necessary.

Removing the entire paragraph under the heading Dendera Light is not acceptable. It is referenced and is a known topic. It is not "wordplay" to inflate an idea. As to your "illustratiaon" (eg., 'chocolate asteroids'), it's an appeal to ridicule.

But more to the point of the references, that is what Wikipedia requires. Anyways, if Lockyer were alive, I would suppose he would support items based in fact (with references) and make his "passing" suggestion ... unless, of course, there was some suppression of dissent against orthodox theories. J. D. Redding 17:52, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Response to RfC[edit]

Hi, I'm responding to the RfC from 3 April. I have to agree that the Dendera Light section is a complete mess. I think it should probably be scrapped and rewritten. I don't know how important this feature is considered to be by "traditional" (ie. real) Egyptologists; is having a full section on it undue weight, or is it an important part of the temple complex? Some of the problems with the passage:
links 13, 14, 15 are two UFO researchers and a comment made in passing in the 1890's
link 17: the 'source' cited for the controversy claim is a UFO researcher
link 18: an electricity textbook from 1908 that seems to be citing a passage from an unknown work from 1877 that made some sort of claim possibly connected to electricity and possible to Egypt (I can't tell from the small section on Google Book Search. Can anyone look this up to see what the whole page says?)
link 19: is from a history book 1881, and doesn't even seem to deal with electricity from the short passage cited in the references section The article states that a working model based on the relief has been made. Sources?
link 21 is a German book written by Peter Kassa and Reinhard Habeck, two more UFO researchers, from what I can tell from the German sources I found.
None of these are reliable sources! I suggest the whole section be deleted until sources for the relevance of this relief to Egyptology (not UFOlogy) can be found. Makerowner 23:04, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

This is a large scale publication (found at most libraries) that notes this: Childress, D. H. (2000). Technology of the gods: the incredible sciences of the ancients. Kempton, Ill: Adventures Unlimited Press. ISBN 0932813739
J. D. Redding 22:04, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

This page [1] essentially debunks the whole idea of electric lamps in ancient Egypt. I'm not sure if it qualifies as a source though, so I didn't include it. Should it be added? Makerowner 15:18, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

The link you posted is a copy of another site. It is already cited IIRC. J. D. Redding (eg.,
Please read WP:FRINGE. J. D. Redding
What about WP:FRINGE did you want me to read? If you're referring to the deletion of the section, that wasn't me. I'm not entirely against includng a mention of the Dendera light story; it seems to be notable enough in its field. However, I want to make sure that any mention of it does not violate undue weight or verifiability. There is essentially no controversy withing Egyptology about whether or not the relief represents a lightbulb, so any mention of such a controversy must be in proportion with the accepted explanation. As for verifiability, I don't think UFOlogists are appropriate sources for a problem of Egyptology. The author D. H. Childress that you mentioned is a UFO, Atlantis, etc. researcher, and any references to him in the article should therefore be used only to show that this belief exists, rather than to support it. Makerowner 01:54, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
BTW, ad hominem arguments @ various people (eg., UFOlogists), also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: "argument to the person", "argument against the man") consists of replying to an argument by attacking or appealing to the person making the argument, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument. It is a genetic fallacy and is a logical fallacy based on the irrelevant appraisal of something based on its origin. J. D. Redding 03:35, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
essentially no controversy? There is coverage in Egyptology about this (not by the elitists, though). A practitioner of the discipline is an Egyptologist, though egyptology is not exclusive to such practitioners. J. D. Redding
I didn't mean it as an ad hominem attack. What I mean is that a UFOlogist is not an appropriate source to show that there is controversy within Egyptology about lightbulbs, just as a theologian is not an appropriate source to show that there is a controversy within biology about evolution. In both cases, there is little to no controversy within the field, but a fair amount outside it. And being 'a practitioner of Egyptology' is not really enough to be considered an Egyptologist; I've read books about Egypt, does that make me an Egyptologist? Instead, to be an Egyptologist, you have to a) publish in a peer-reviewed or otherwise academic journal about Egypt and/or b) be accepted by other Egyptologists as an Egyptologist. I doubt that D. H. Childress meets either qualification; likewise for Kassa and Habeck. Makerowner 15:38, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
It is not a "lightbulb" as we know it. Think "arc lamp", "Geissler tubes", "Crookes tubes" (none of which are incandescents.)
If you done work and research concerning egypt you may be a practitioner of Egyptology. THAT IS NOT a Egyptologist (which is a specialty subfield ...). Most practitioner of Egyptology are from other fields (ex., archaeologists, biblical scholars, etc ...) ...
No, you don't have to be in a peer-reviewed or otherwise academic journal to be a practitioner of Egyptology. There are various Egyptology books in the library by folks that don't mess with academia. A simple g.books seach can show that ... goto the libary too.
J. D. Redding 15:51, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Found this ...

Electricity in Ancient Egypt?
Thoughts on a Technical Solution
article by Prof. Dr. Rainer Ose
Did the Egyptians of the pharaonic kingdoms have knowledge of the generation and application of electricity? A number of theories supporting this idea have been presented with many examples within the Ancient Astronaut realm. Dr. Eva Auf [1] proposes that the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt was equipped with a “uraeus-battery” to generate electric bursts and visible electric discharges. Reinhard Habeck [2] and Peter Krassa [3] write about the “light-bulbs” at Dendera. Professor Rainer Ose of the Department of Electrotechnology at the University of Braunschweig/Wolfenbüttel, Germany, takes a critical look at these.

maybe someone can look him up ... 04:13, 28 April 2007 (UTC)


The whole section on the Dendera zodiac needs to be completely scrapped and rewritten because it is drawing on sources that are a century or two old at this point, for some reason. --Chris Brennan 03:03, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

If you can find newer sources, bust them out. I looked for them. J. D. Redding 03:14, 28 April 2007 (UTC) (BTW, that is what you call in historical research, primary sources and secondary sources; which would make this a secondary or tertiary document (and in line with WP:OR).)
No need to get defensive man. I'm just pointing out that the sources that are being drawn on are clearly out of date, and this is blatantly obvious to anyone that has any familiarity with the history of astrology at this point. In this case it is more of an issue of getting rid of pointless conjecture that was perhaps progressive or open for speculation in the 19th century, but now seems a bit odd given the advances in the study of the history of science over the past 100 years or so.
Several of the sources at my disposal appear to be in agreement that it it was originally constructed in the 1st century, partially due to the Roman inscriptions that are alluded to towards the end of this article, and also partially due to the fact that this was the general time period in which horoscopic astrology was really starting to take hold in the ancient world and the synthesis of the previous Babylonian and Egyptian systems had been accomplished. Current history books which cite this 1st century BCE date include Peter Whitfield's Astrology, A History, pg. 49 and Tamsyn Barton's Ancient Astrology, pg. 145. Another more recent (i.e. within the past 100 years) and well respected scholar who mentions the Dendera zodiac is Otto Neugebauer in his paper Demotic Horoscopes or in his book Greek Horoscopes where he says that various parts of the temple complex and the reliefs in particular were constructed during the reigns of Tiberius, Augustus, and Trajan - Greek Horoscopes, pg. 5.
Saying that you looked around and the best you could find were a few sources from the 19th century seems a bit sketchy to me. I mean, if you are really hard up then at least check the Louvre's website where they happen to have a decent article on the subject. [2] Interestingly, they date the Dendera zodiac to the mid-1st century BCE using astronomical data within the relief itself. --Chris Brennan 04:47, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
Sorry if I seem defensive man.
Please put in the Peter Whitfield's Astrology, A History, pg. 49 and Tamsyn Barton's Ancient Astrology, pg. 145 and Otto Neugebauer in his paper Demotic Horoscopes or Greek Horoscopes ...
Didn't think the would be a great ref, but I'll put it in ... J. D. Redding 14:39, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Light bulb[edit]

Please note some more photographs and pictures at -- there is also commentary. The source is a dissertation of Wolfgang Waitkus at University Hamburg, vorgelegt (1991), "Die Texte in den unteren Krypten des Hathortempels von Dendera".

Even if you take the picture alone, you will note that the "light bulb" is held by human or gods in some of the reliefs, so there's not always the isolator-like object present.

Anyway, discussion with domain experts at de: once more had the unsurprising outcome, that the ancient egypt electricity thesis isn't held by any contemporary egyptologists. As Reddi wasn't able to unearth a source for the contrary (especially given the gae of the non-ufologist sources), we should drop "Unsolved problems in Egyptology" here now and cleanup that section.

Pjacobi 23:41, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

I agree. I do think that some mention of the interest of paranormal researchers in the so-called Dendera light might be useful, though any mention of a controversy in Egyptology must have sources of course. Makerowner 00:11, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
The dendera light material needs sources, of course, but it also belongs in an ancillary article, per Undue Weight in NPOV. This isn't a real controversy in Egyptology. Thanatosimii 01:08, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
Is the Dendera light proposal notable enough to have an article to itself? I'm not saying it isn't, I just don't know how important this is in 'alternative archeology' fields. If it is important enough, maybe the article should be split, but I think the current version gives due weight to the 'controversy': it mentions what some fringe science people believe, but doesn't go into detail.Makerowner 15:25, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
At this stage, I haven't seen enough sources to justify the "lightbulb" theory being included. Addhoc 16:31, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
IMHO the real problem with proceeding is lack of (a) domain experts to expand the article and (v) lack of pictures. We we jsut dump the light bulb, there is no reason to single out that image. The Dendera temple complex is covered in reliefs, and that just two of them (zodiac and light bulb) are disproportionally known and covered on the Web and in Daniketes' Scriptures, is just an effect of selective reception. --Pjacobi 19:27, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

To J.D. Redding: you are the only editor of this page who believes that the idea that the relief represents a lightbulb is worthy of inclusion. Instead of reverting any changes to the section, please discuss what you would like on the talk page and respect the consensus. Makerowner 01:39, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Not The Best[edit]

"One of the best ... if not the best" -- twice referenced in this article alone, shouldn't this be cleaned up? Hello? Anyone?

Shameful, non-NPOV, not very encyclopedic, there are over 8000 references

Those are nearly all talk pages, not actual articles. As for this instance, "best" is not necesarraly pov. By archaeological standards, it is not wrong to say that this complex is among the best preserved. It is not a statement of subjective value, but of objective degree of preservation. Thanatosimii 01:38, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
I removed the two ...if not the best... metions in the article. To assert such thing, there should be some sources that assert this, otherwise is WP:Original_research WP:NNPOV, don't know which one it fits better. And I know that WP:Original_research is still in hot debate, but I think that its application here is warranted Samuel Sol 11:12, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

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