The following are unsolved problems in Egyptology and modern knowledge of ancient Egypt. The items are in the form of a list of unsolved problems.

Open problemsEdit

Many open problems concern Ancient Egypt, and some of them may never be solved. Egyptian archaeology is in a state of constant transition, with much of the terminology and chronology in dispute. The archaeological record is incomplete, with countless relics and artifacts missing or destroyed. New archaeological discoveries can call into question previous conclusions about Ancient Egypt. Furthermore, there are internal problems of overall cohesion of various dynasties and there are problems reconciling the Egyptian civilization with other concurrent civilizations.


Ancient Egypt appeared as a unified state no later than 3300 BC. It survived as an independent state until about 300 BC. Archaeological evidence suggests that a developed Egyptian society may have existed for much longer.


  • Event: Volcanic eruption of Thera
    • In the Bronze Age, the massive volcanic eruption of the island of Thera (Santorini) deposited pumice and ash across the Eastern Mediterranean. This archeological layer of debris provides a fixed date that can synchronize all the chronologies of the region, including Egyptian, Minoan, Mycenean, Canaanite, and so on. The radiocarbon date of this eruption is well-attested, around 1613 ±13 BC,[1] corroborated by numerous other carbon samples, plus other dating methods. Based on pottery, scarabs, and the Tempest Stele, some have argued that this event must have happened during the reign of Ahmose I, the founder of the 18th Dynasty. Unfortunately, this date contradicts the conventional Egyptian chronology that starts the 18th Dynasty around 1550 BC, thus yielding a date for the eruption somewhere around 1530 BC based on archeological remains such as ceramic ware.[2] This contradiction has not yet been resolved. Egyptologists have not found this convincing enough to change their chronologies, which without exception date Ahmose I to the 16th century.

The PharaohsEdit

  • Persona: Was King Khufu (Cheops) a good ruler or a tyrant, as later tradition described him?
  • Persona: Where did Khababash of the Thirtieth dynasty of Egypt come from?
  • Persona: What happened to Hatshepsut? Was Senenmut the lover of Hatshepsut? Why did Thutmose III obliterate the names and images of Hatshepsut, after a seemingly amicable coreign?
  • Persona: Where is the body of Akhenaten? Was Akhenaten killed or exiled? What did Akhenaten believe? Did Aten have a connection with Adonai, Yahweh, or Elohim?
  • Persona: How did Tutankhamun die? Was he son of Akhenaten? Was he really son of Kiya, or could he have been son of Nefertiti?
  • Event: Was Amenemhat I assassinated?
  • Event: What happened to Nefertiti? What caused the disappearance of Nefertiti? Was Nefertiti Smenkhkare? Did Nefertiti ever rule Egypt alone?[3]
  • Event: Was Egypt split during the rule of Smendes I?
  • Event: Did Ramesses III 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: Did Necho II really send out an expedition which sailed from the Red Sea around Africa back to the mouth of the Nile?

Temples and pyramidsEdit

Many Egyptian temples are still standing today. Others are in ruin 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.

  • Temples :When was the Sphinx built and who built it?
  • Temples: What was the purpose of the Sphinx? Which pharaoh was the Sphinx's face meant to resemble? Was its face meant to resemble Khufu, Djedefra, Khafra? Was there a second Sphinx across the Nile?
  • Temples : Was the Labyrinth at Heracleopolis a myth or real?
  • Temples : Who built the Osireion at Abydos?
  • Pyramids : When was the great pyramid at Giza built?

Burial and tombsEdit

Mummification of the dead was not always practiced in Egypt. 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 complex ceremony including various monuments, prayers, and rituals undertaken in the dead's honor.

Biblical synchronismsEdit

The ancient Egyptians are featured in the Old Testament, and played a prominent role in the early Hebrews' life, from Joseph's capture to the departure of the Hebrews from Egypt, and later interaction with the Kingdom of Israel.

There are several unanswered questions as to the precise influence each had on the other.


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

  • 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 utilize iron?
  • Methods: Were the Egyptians capable of long distance navigation in their boats? When did they become knowledgeable seamen?
  • Knowledge: What does the Tulli Papyrus describe? Did it come from the reign of Thutmose III? Is it even real, or was it just creative writing?
  • Knowledge: Did the Egyptians have some form of understanding of electricity[4][5]? Did the Egyptians use batteries?

Language and the artsEdit


See alsoEdit


Citations and notes
  1. New research in Science: date of the largest volcanic eruption in the Bronze Age finally pinpointed (27 April 2006)
  2. Summary of Evidence for the Absolute Chronology of the Early Part of the Aegean Late Bronze Age Derived from Historical Egyptian Sources
  3. JENNIFER SARANOW, "7 Missing Wonders: Many of history's most famous shipwrecks, tombs and relics are still missing. Jennifer Saranow on the growing high-tech hunt for them", The Wall Street Journal (November 9, 2007): W1.
  4. This may stem from a misunderstanding of a text referring to "high poles covered with copper plates" to argue this "Bruno Kolbe, Francis ed Legge, Joseph Skellon, tr., "An Introduction to Electricity". Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner, 1908. 429 pages. Page 391. (cf., "[...] high poles covered with copper plates and with gilded tops were erected 'to break the stones coming from on high'. J. Dümichen, Baugeschichte des Dendera-Tempels, Strassburg, 1877")" but Dr. Bolko Stern has written in detail explaining why the copper covered tops of poles (which were lower than the associated pylons) do not relate to electricity or lightning, pointing out that no evidence of anything used to manipulate electricty had been found in Egypt and that this was a magical and not a technical installation.Stern, Bolko (1896 reprinted 1998). Ägyptische Kulturgeschichte. Reprint-Verlag-Leipzig. pp. 106-108. ISBN 978-3826219085. 
  5. Heinrich Karl Brugsch-Bey and Henry Danby Seymour, "A History of Egypt Under the Pharaohs". J. Murray, 1881. Page 422. (cf., [... the symbol of a] 'serpent' is rather a fish, which still serves, in the Coptic language, to designate the electric fish [...])
General information
  • Manley, Bill (ed.), The Seventy Great Mysteries of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-05123-2
  • Mysteries of Egypt National Geographic Society, 1999. ISBN 0-7922-9752-0
  • Knapp, Ron, Tutankhamun and the mysteries of ancient Egypt. Messner, 1979. ISBN 0-671-33036-5
  • Jacq, Christian, Magic and mystery in ancient Egypt. Souvenir Press, 1998. ISBN 0-285-63462-3

Further reading and other publicationsEdit

  • 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 0-517-88454-2
  • Childress, David Hatcher, Technology of the Gods: The Incredible Sciences of the Ancients. Adventures Unlimited Press, 2000. ISBN 0-932813-73-9
  • Mertz, Barbara. Red Land, Black Land: Daily Life in Ancient Egypt. Dodd Mead, 1978. ISBN 0-396-07575-4
  • Mertz, Barbara. Temples, Tombs and Hieroglyphs: A Popular History of Ancient Egypt. Bedrick, 1990. ISBN 0-87226-223-5
  • Morris, Margaret, The Egyptian Pyramid Mystery Is Solved. ISBN 0-9720434-0-3
  • 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 1-59143-036-4

External links and other resourcesEdit

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