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Temple of Seti I (Abydos)

Coordinates: 26°11′06″N 31°55′09″E / 26.1851°N 31.9192°E / 26.1851; 31.9192
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Façade of the Temple of Seti I, built c. 1300 BC

The Temple of Seti I, also known as the Great Temple of Abydos, is a major historical site located in Abydos. The temple was built in 13th century BC by pharaoh Seti I. Incorporated at the rear of the temple is the Osireion, a largely subterranean complex built with large stone blocks.[1]

The temple is also notable for the Abydos graffiti, ancient Phoenician and Aramaic graffiti found on the temple walls.

Research and preservation[edit]

Dorothy Louise Eady, also known as Omm Sety (16 January 1904 – 21 April 1981), was keeper of the Temple of Seti I.

The temple was described by pioneer archaeologist Flinders Petrie. The temple was documented in 1933 in a four-volume series entitled The Temple of King Sethos I at Abydos. The books were largely devoted to the exceptional copies of the temple's wall paintings done by Ms. Amice Calverley.

The Gallery of the Lists (Temple of Seti I in Abydos)


Abydos King List[edit]

The long list of the pharaohs of the principal dynasties—recognized by Seti—are carved on a wall and known as the "Abydos King List". There were significant names deliberately left off of the list. As an almost complete list of pharaoh names, the Table of Abydos, rediscovered by William John Bankes, has been called the "Rosetta Stone" of Egyptian archaeology, analogous to the Rosetta Stone for Egyptian writing, beyond the Narmer Palette.[2]

Helicopter hieroglyphs[edit]

The retouched and eroded hieroglyphs in the Temple of Seti I which are purported to represent modern vehicles – a helicopter, a submarine, and a zeppelin or plane.

The "helicopter" image is the result of carved stone being re-used over time. The initial carving was made during the reign of Seti I and translates to "He who repulses the nine [enemies of Egypt]". This carving was later filled in with plaster and re-carved during the reign of Ramesses II with the title "He who protects Egypt and overthrows the foreign countries". Over time, the plaster has eroded away, leaving both inscriptions partially visible and creating a palimpsest-like effect of overlapping hieroglyphs.[3][4]


  1. ^ Hamilton, Keith (2018). "The Osireion A Layman's Guide". Research Gate.
  2. ^ Misty Cryer, "Travellers in Egypt – William John Bankes" (2006), TravellersinEgypt.org, web: TravEgypt-WJB Archived 2006-08-30 at the Wayback Machine: re-discovered Table of Abydos.
  3. ^ "The Abydos temple "helicopter"". Archived from the original on July 28, 2005.
  4. ^ "Helicopter Hieroglyphs Explained". raincool.blogspot.nl. May 23, 2010.

26°11′06″N 31°55′09″E / 26.1851°N 31.9192°E / 26.1851; 31.9192