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Encyclopedia > Unsolved problems in Egyptology
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The following are unsolved problems in Egyptology and modern knowledge of ancient Egypt. This include a list of ancient Egypt mysteries. Unsolved problems in : Add an unsolved problems template to articles that deal with specific unsolved questions. ... Egyptology is the scientific study of Ancient Egypt and Egyptian antiquities and is a regional and thematic branch of the larger disciplines of ancient history and archaeology. ... Map of Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt as a general historical term broadly refers to the civilization of the Lower Nile Valley, between the First Cataract and the mouths of the Nile Delta, from circa 3300 BC until the conquest of Alexander the Great in 332 BC. As a civilization based... An open problem is a problem that can be formally stated and for which a solution is known to exist but which has not yet been solved. ...



There are several open problems concerning ancient Egypt. There are various profound problems that exist with no satisfactory solution. Egyptian archeology is in a constant state of transition, with much of the terminology and dating in dispute. The problems are manifold. There are internal problems of overall cohesion of various Dynasties and there are problems reconciling the Egyptian civilization with other concurrent civilizations. The archeological record is incomplete, also (with relics and artifacts missing or destroyed). Archeologists may suggest solutions to many of these questions; others may never be solved.


Ancient Egypt appeared as a unified state no later than 3300 BC. It survived as an independent state until about 1300 BC. Archeological evidence suggest that a developed Egyptian society may have existed for much longer. Map of Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt as a general historical term broadly refers to the civilization of the Lower Nile Valley, between the First Cataract and the mouths of the Nile Delta, from circa 3300 BC until the conquest of Alexander the Great in 332 BC. As a civilization based...

  • History : Where did the Egyptians come from? What did the Egyptians know of their own history?
  • History : What was the the origin of the Hyksos? Who were their first leaders?

The Hyksos (Egyptian heka khasewet) were an ethnically mixed group of Western Asiatic people who appeared in the eastern Nile Delta during the Second Intermediate Period. ...

The Pharaohs

  • Persona : Who were the first pharaohs of Egypt? Were the pharoahs Menes and Narmer part of Egyptian mythology or were they historical? If both were real, who came first?
  • Persona : Where is the body of Akhenaten? Was Akhenaten killed or exiled? What did Akhenaten believe?
  • Persona : Who was Tutankhamun? How did Tutankhamun die?
  • Persona : What happened to Hatshepsut? Was Senenmut the lover of Hatshepsut?
  • Persona : Was Khababash of the Thirtieth dynasty of Egypt a proper Pharaoh? Where did Khababash come from?
  • Customs : Was the Pharaoh really seen as a god or the postion he held just viewed as divine?
  • Event : What kind of reign was Pharaoh Smendes I's rule? Was Egypt split during his governance?
  • Event : Did Ramesses II defend Egypt against the Sea People because they were invading or were they people fleeing to egypt in the middle of a war?
  • Event : Was Ramesses III assassinated?
  • Event : Was Amenemhat I assassinated?
  • Event : What happened to Nefertiti? What caused the disappearance of Nefertiti?
  • Event : Did Necho II really send out an expedition which sailed from the Red Sea around Africa back to the mouth of the Nile?

Pharaoh (פַּרְעֹה, Standard Hebrew Parʿo, Tiberian Hebrew Parʿōh) is a title used to refer to the kings (of godly status) in ancient Egypt. ... Menes was an Egyptian pharaoh of the First dynasty, to some authors the founder of this dynasty, to others the Second. ... Narmer was an Egyptian pharaoh who ruled in the 32nd century BC. The successor of Serket, he is considered by some to be the founder of the First dynasty. ... Egyptian mythology (or Egyptian religion) is the name for the succession of beliefs held by the people of Egypt until the coming of Christianity and Islam. ... Bust of Pharaoh Akhenaten. ... Atenism (or the Amarna heresy) is the monotheistic religion associated above all with the eighteenth dynasty Pharaoh Amenhotep IV, better known under the name he later adopted, Akhenaten. ... Gold burial mask of Tutankhamun found in the young kings tomb, excavated by Howard Carter in 1922. ... A statue of Hatshepsut commissioned without the false beared. ... Senenmut was the Grand Vizier, or First Minister, of Pharaoh Hatshepsut of Egypt. ... The Thirtieth dynasty of Egypt followed Nectanebo Is deposition of Nefaarud II, the son of Hakor. ... The term God (capitalized in English language as a proper noun) is often used to refer vaguely to a Supreme Being. ... Divinity is seen as the existence of some entity or entities which are greater than humankind. ... Ramesses II, Abu Simbel Ramesses II (also known as Ramesses the Great and alternatively transcribed as Ramses and Rameses) was an Egyptian pharaoh. ... Sea Peoples is the term used in ancient Egyptian records of a race of ship-faring raiders who drifted into the eastern shores of the Mediterranean and attempted to enter Egyptian territory during the late 19th dynasty, and especially year 5 of Rameses III of the 20th Dynasty. ... Osirid statues of Ramses III at Karnak. ... nomen or birth name Amenemhat I was the first ruler of the Twelth Dynasty (the dynasty debated to be the beginning of the Middle Kingdom of Egpyt). ... Nefertiti was the wife of the Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep IV (later Akhenaten), and mother-in-law of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun. ... Nekau II (also known as Necho II) was a king of the Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt (610 - 595 BC), and the son of Psammetichus I. He played a significant role in the histories of Assyrian Empire, Babylonia and Kingdom of Judah. ... Conshelf II in the Red Sea (Sudan) Location of the Red Sea The Red Sea (Arabic البحر الأحمر Baḥr al-Aḥmar, al-Baḥru l-’Aḥmar; Hebrew ים סוף Yam Suf; Tigrigna ቀይሕ ባሕሪ QeyH baHri) is a gulf or basin of the Indian Ocean between Africa and Asia. ... Africa is the worlds second-largest continent and 3rd most populous . ... The Nile in Egypt Length 6 695 km Elevation of the source 1 134 m Average discharge 2 830 m³/s Area watershed 3 400 000 km² Origin Africa Mouth the Mediterranean Basin countries Uganda - Sudan - Egypt The Nile (Arabic: النيل an-nÄ«l), in Africa, is one of the two...

Temples and pyramids

Many Egyptian temples are still standing today. Others are in ruins from wear and tear, while others have been lost entirely. The Egyptian structures are among the largest man-made constructions ever conceived. They constitute one of the most potent and enduring symbols of Ancient Egyptian civilization.

  • Pyramids : What were the origins of the Egyptian pyramids? When and where was the concepts of pyramids conceived? What were the pyramids used for? How were the pyramids built? When and why did the era of pyramid building end?
  • Pyramids : Why did Snofru's build multiple pyramids? Are the "proper" pyramids (like the Red Pyramid) really his?
  • Pyramids : Are the Pyramids of Giza sequenced in straight lines with stars?
  • Pyramids : Does Abydos contain the last royal pyramids? Why was it built? Why does it have a pyramid?
  • Temples : Is the Hall of Records real? If so, where is it? Is it under the Great Pyramid? Is it under the Sphinx?
  • Temples : How old is the Sphinx? Does the Sphinx date to the predynastic period or the Old Kingdom? What was the purpose of the Sphinx? Which pharaoh was the Sphinx meant to resemble?
  • Temples : Was the the Labyrinth at Heracleopolis a myth or real?
  • Temples : Who built the Osireion at Abydos?

The pyramids of Egypt, some of which are amongst the largest man-made constructions ever conceived, constitute one of the most potent and enduring symbols of Ancient Egyptian civilization. ... Sneferus Cartouche Sneferu, also spelt as Snefru or Snofru (in Greek known as Soris), was the founder of the Fourth dynasty of Egypt, reigning from around 2613 BC to 2589 BC. The father of Egypts most famous pyramid builder, Khufu, Sneferu was actually more prolific than his heir... The Red Pyramid Detail of the massive corbel-vaulted ceiling of the main burial chamber The Red Pyramid, named for the light crimson hue of its exposed granite surface, is the largest of the three major pyramids located at the Dahshur necropolis, and the third largest Egyptian pyramid, after those... The Giza pyramid field, viewed from the southwest. ... The Great Pyramid of Giza, (sometimes spelled Gizeh) is the oldest and last remaining of the Seven Wonders of the World and the most famous pyramid in the world. ... The Great Sphinx at Giza, Egypt. ... The Predynastic period of Egypt is the period that culminates in the rise of the Old Kingdom and the first of the thirty dynasties based on royal residences, by which Egyptologists divide the history of Pharaonic civilization, using a schedule laid out first by Manethos Aegyptaica. ... The Old Kingdom is the name commonly given to that period in the 3rd millennium BC when Egypt attained its first continuous peak of civilization complexity and achievement - this was the first of three so-called Kingdom periods which mark the high points of civilisation in the Nile Valley (the... Classical labyrinth Another labyrinth Walking the famous labyrinth within the Chartres Cathedral. ... Herakleopolis Magna is the Greek name of the capital of the Twentieth nome of ancient Egypt. ...

Burial and tombs

In Egypt, the dead were originally not mummified. Once the practice began, an individual was placed at his/her final resting place through a set of rituals and protocol. The Egyptian funeral was a ceremony of a set the complex of beliefs and practices used by Egyptian culture with various monuments, prayers, and rituals undertaken in the dead's honor.

  • Customs : Why did the Egyptians mummify the deceased? When did the process of mummification originate? How was the "Myth of Osiris" tied to mummification ?
  • Customs : Were there human sacrifices at royal tombs, or is this just blood libel?
  • Customs : What was the meaning of the royal boats at Abydos?
  • Customs : Where are the Apis bull burials?
  • Tomb : Where is the royal tomb of Amenhotep I? Why was Amenhotep's body moved?
  • Tomb : Who are the individuals that are buried at Qurneh?
  • Tomb : Was tombs of the sons of Ramesses II refounded by Amenhotep II?
  • Tomb : Where are the Third Intermediate Dynasty tombs at Tanis?

A mummy is a preserved corpse that, due to shielding from decomposition by either natural or artificial means, has retained its physical form. ... The legend of Osiris, Isis, Horus and Set is one of the most powerful in Egyptian mythology. ... Human sacrifice was practiced in many ancient cultures. ... Blood libels are allegations that a particular group kills people as a form of human sacrifice, and uses their blood in various rituals. ... Abydos, one of the most ancient cities of Upper Egypt, stood about 11 km (6 miles) west of the Nile at latitude 26° 10 N. The Egyptian name was Abdju (technically, 3bdw, hieroglyphs shown to the right), the hill of the symbol or reliquary, in which the sacred head of... In Egyptian mythology, Apis (or Hapi-ankh) The living deceased one or Osiris incarnate in the sacred white Bull. ... nomen or birth name Djeserkare Amenhotep I (died 1504 BC) was the second Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of Egypt. ... Tomb KV7, located in the Valley of the Kings, is the tomb of Ramesses II, and is located in the main valley, opposite the tomb of his sons, KV5, and near to the tomb of his son and successor, Merenptah, KV8. ... nomen or birth name Aakheperure Amenhotep II (died 1400 BC) was the 7th Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of Egypt. ... Tanis (Djâni in Egyptian) is an important archeological site in north-east Egypt on the Tanitic branch of the Nile. ...


Egyptian civilization have played a significant role in the the early Hebrews' life, from Joseph capture to the departure of the Hebrews from Egypt and, later, interactions with the Kingdom of Isreal. There are several unanswered question as to the precise influence each had on the other.

  • Persona : Was Joseph the vizier to Amenhotep III? If so, was he in fact Vizier Yuya (Osarseph)?
  • Persona : Is there a connection between Moses and Akhenaten?
  • Persona : Who was Labaya? Was he a biblical figure (such as Saul )?
  • Persona : What Pharaoh gave Solomon his daughter to marry?
  • Event : Was the the Exodus of the Israelites mythological or historical? If it was historical, under which Pharaoh did it occur? How many Hebrews were in Egypt? How many left in the Exodus?
  • Event : Was King Solomon involved in Egyptian religious practices, such as Atenism?

Joseph is a given name originating from Hebrew, recorded in the Hebrew Bible, as יוֹסֵף, Standard Hebrew Yosef, and Tiberian Hebrew YôsÄ“pÌ„. In Arabic, including in the Quran, the name is يوسف or YÅ«suf. ... A Vizier (وزير, sometimes also spelled Wazir) is an Arabic term for a high-ranking religious and political advisor, often to a king or sultan. ... Amenhotep III, Ägyptisches Museum, Berlin The northern Colossus of Memnon Amenhotep III (called Nibmu(`w)areya in the Amarna letters) was an Egyptian pharaoh of the XVIIIth dynasty. ... Osarseph is a person that Manetho (writing in the first millenium BC) claimed was a high priest mainly during the reign of Amenhotep III. According to Manetho, he was part of the priesthood at Heliopolis, and supported the introduction of monotheism by Akhenaten. ... Moses or Móshe (מֹשֶׁה, Standard Hebrew Móše, Tiberian Hebrew Mōšeh, Arabic موسى), son of Amram and his wife, Jochebed, a Levite. ... Bust of Pharaoh Akhenaten. ... Labaya; possibly Labayu or Lbayu Canaanite warlord of (probably) the 14th century BCE. Labaya is referred to in several of the Amarna Letters. ... Saul or Shaul (שָׁאוּל Borrowed, Standard Hebrew Å aʾul, Tiberian Hebrew Šāʾûl) was the first king of Israel according to the Old Testament of the Bible, as taught in Judaism. ... Solomon (Hebrew, Shlomo from Shalom for peace, also Arabic as Suleiman or Sulyaman meaning peace) can mean any of the following: 1. ... The Exodus was the departure of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt under the leadership of Moses. ... An Israelite is a member of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, descended from the twelve sons of the Biblical patriarch Jacob who was renamed Israel by God in the book of Genesis, 32:28 The Israelites were a group of Hebrews, as described in the Bible. ... Atenism (or the Amarna heresy) is the monotheistic religion associated above all with the eighteenth dynasty Pharaoh Amenhotep IV, better known under the name he later adopted, Akhenaten. ...


Certian artifacts and records do not fit with conventional technological development systems. There is a question as to the sophistication of ancient Egyptian technology.

  • Methods : How did the Egyptians shape, form, and work granite?
  • Methods : When did Egyptians start producing glass?
  • Methods : Why is there not a neat progression to an Egyptian iron age? Why did the Egyptians take so long to ultilize iron?
  • Methods : Were the Egyptian capable of long distant navigation in thier boats? When did they become knowledgeable seamen?
  • Knowledge : Did Egyptians have some form of understanding of electricity? Did the Egyptians use batteries? What is the relief at Dendera?
  • Knowledge : What was the Saqqara Bird? Did Egyptians have some form of understanding of aerodynamics? Did Egyptians have kites or gliders?
  • Knowledge : What does the Tulli Papyrus describe? Did it come from the reign of Thutmosis III?

Granite is a common and widely-occurring group of intrusive felsic igneous rocks that form at great depths and pressures under continents. ... The materials definition of a glass is a uniform amorphous solid material, usually produced when a suitably viscous molten material cools very rapidly, thereby not giving enough time for a regular crystal lattice to form. ... Iron Age Axe found on Gotland This article is about the archaeological period known as the Iron Age, for the mythological Iron Age see Iron Age (mythology). ... General Name, Symbol, Number iron, Fe, 26 Chemical series transition metal Group, Period, Block 8 (VIIIB), 4, d Density, Hardness 7874 kg/m3, 4. ... There are several traditions of navigation. ... A boat is a watercraft, usually smaller than most ships. ... Electricity is a property of certain subatomic particles (e. ... Four double-A (AA) batteries In science and technology, a battery is a device that stores energy and makes it available in an electrical form. ... The Dendera light is a controversial stone relief located in the Hathor temple at the Dendera Temple complex. ... Aerodynamics is a branch of fluid dynamics concerned with the study of gas flows, first analysed by George Cayley in the 1800s. ... The word kite has a number of possible meanings: A kite is a man-made, heavier-than-air object, designed to fly by opposing the force of the wind with the tension of a line held by the operator. ... Gliders are un-powered heavier-than-air aircraft. ... Thutmose III (also written as Tuthmosis III; called Manahpi(r)ya in the Amarna letters) (? - 1426 BC), was Pharaoh of Egypt in the Eighteenth Dynasty. ...

Language and the arts

Hieroglyphs are a system of writing used by the Ancient Egyptians, using a combination of logographic, syllabic, and alphabetic elements. ... The Story of Sinuhe is set in the time of the Pharaoh Amenemhat I, founder of the 12th dynasty of Egypt, and is thus one of the oldest pieces of literature known. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Sir Galahad, a hero of Arthurian legend In many myths and folk tales, a hero is a man or woman (the latter often called a heroine), traditionally the protagonist of a story, legend or saga, who commonly possesses abilities or character far greater than that of a typical person, which... The Story of Wenamun (alternately known as the Report of Wenamun, the Misadventures of Wenamun, or [informally] as just Wenamun) is a literary text written in hieratic in the Late Egyptian language. ... Roman Catholic priest LCDR Allen R. Kuss (USN) aboard USS Enterprise A priest or priestess is a holy man or woman who takes an officiating role in worship of any religion, with the distinguishing characteristic of offering sacrifices. ... Magician redirects here. ... Look up Magic in Wiktionary, the free dictionary The term magic is a Persian loanword into English and may refer to: Magic (paranormal) deals with the manipulation of what the practitioner believes to be genuine paranormal phenomena. ... Look up Spell in Wiktionary, the free dictionary For spelling in linguistics, see orthography. ...


  • Geography : Where was the land of Punt? Why was it referred to as "God's Land"?
  • Geography : Was Alashiya the island Cyprus?
  • Geography : Where was the area of Yam?
  • History : Did the "Nubian Dark Age" really occur in the Twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt?
  • History : Was the First Intermediate Period of Egypt really a Dark Age?
  • History : Who was the victor at the Battle of Kadesh?
  • History : Why did Plato write about Atlantis as described by Sonchis, Egyptian priest of Thebes? Who was Solon and why did he visit Egypt? Did Solon meet Sonchis or is it a fable?
  • History : Why were there Minoan painting in Avaris? What was the relationship between Minoan civilization and Egyptian civilization?

The Land of Punt was a fabled and exotic source of trade with Ancient Egypt. ... Alashiya was an important state during the Middle and Late Bronze Ages. ... The Dark Ages (or Dark Age) is a metaphor with multiple meanings and connotations. ... The Twenty-fifth dynasty of Ancient Egypt originated in Kush at the city-state of Napata, from whence they invaded and took control of Egypt under Piye (spelled Pinakhi in older works). ... The First Intermediate Period is the name conventionally given by Egyptologists to that period in Ancient Egyptian history between the end of the Old Kingdom and the advent of the Middle Kingdom. ... The Hittite (red) and Egypt (green) spheres of influence overlapped at Kadesh The Battle of Kadesh (also spelled Qadesh) took place between Egypt and the Hittite forces of Muwatallis, on the Orontes River, during the reign of Ramesses II (1304 – 1237 BC). ... PLATO, an apronym for Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operation, was one of the first generalized Computer assisted instruction systems, originally built by the University of Illinois (U of I) and later taken over by Control Data (CDC), who provided the machines it ran on. ... An artistic rendition of an imaginary Atlantis Atlantis was a legendary ancient island, whose existence and location have never been confirmed. ... Thebes [Θηβαι Thēbai] is the Greek designation of ancient Egyptian niwt (The) City and niwt-rst (The) Southern City. It is located about 700 km south of the Mediterranean, on the east bank of the Nile. ... Solon Solon (Greek: Σόλων, c. ... In its strict sense a fable is a short story or folk tale embodying a moral, which may be expressed explicitly at the end as a maxim. ... Map of Minoan Crete The Minoans were a pre-Hellenic Bronze Age civilization in Crete in the Aegean Sea, prior to Helladic or Mycenaean culture (i. ... Avaris, thought to be located at Tell el-Daba (some still argue for different locations), was the ancient capital of the Hyksos dynasties in Egypt. ...

See also

An open problem is a problem that can be formally stated and for which a solution is known to exist but which has not yet been solved. ...


  • Manley, Bill (Ed.), "The Seventy Great Mysteries of Ancient Egypt". Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0500051232
  • "Mysteries of Egypt" National Geographic Society, 1999. ISBN 0792297520
  • Knapp, Ron, "Tutankhamun and the mysteries of ancient Egypt". Messner, 1979. ISBN 0671330365
  • Jacq, Christian, "Magic and mystery in ancient Egypt". Souvenir Press, 1998. ISBN 0285634623

Further reading and other publications

  • Rhys-Davies, John, "Riddles of the monument builders : Who built the Sphinx" Time-Life Video, 1995.
  • Sitchin, Zecharia, "The earth chronicles expeditions : journeys to the mythical past". Bear & Co., 2004. ISBN 1591430364
  • "Archibald's guide to the mysteries of ancient Egypt". Swfte International, Ltd., 1994.
  • Bauval, Robert, and Adrian Gilbert, "The Orion Mystery : Unlocking the Secrets of the Pyramids". 1994. ISBN 0517884542
  • Morris, Margaret, "The Egyptian Pyramid Mystery Is Solved". ISBN 0972043403
  • Childress, David Hatcher, "Technology of the Gods: The Incredible Sciences of the Ancients". Adventures Unlimited Pre, 2000. ISBN 0932813739

External links and other resources

  Results from FactBites:
List of unsolved problems in Egyptology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1073 words)
The following are unsolved problems in Egyptology and modern knowledge of ancient Egypt.
Egyptian archaeology is in a state of constant transition, with much of the terminology and chronology in dispute.
Furthermore, there are internal problems of overall cohesion of various dynasties and there are problems reconciling the Egyptian civilization with other concurrent civilizations.
  More results at FactBites »



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