Friday, August 22, 2014

Dendera Light – Technology of Electricity lighting

The term `Dendera light’, is a technology of electricity lighting used to describe an ancient Egyptian electrical lighting which is depicted on three stone reliefs, a single and a double representation in the Hathor temple, located at the Dendera Temple complex in Egypt that resembles some modern electrical lighting systems.

The temple complex of Dendera is one of the most preserved complexes in Egypt and lies around 2.5 km south east of of Dendera which is known to the ancient Egyptians as Iunet or Tantere, the sixth Nome of Upper Egypt. The entire complex is spread across an area of around 40,000 square meters which is surrounded by large mud brick enclosed wall.

The sculpture drew the attention of several historians due to the resemblance of the motifs to some modern electrical light systems though some mainstream Egyptologist considered it as a typical set of symbolic images from Egyptian mythology. The mainstream view among Egyptologist considers the reliefs as a combination of a Lotus flower, a Djed pillar which is a symbol of stability, portrayed by the outstretched arms and a snake coming from the flower through the Nut.

Around the Dendera Light, the inscription support this view, referring to the rising sun which springs out of a lotus flower in the shape of the snake god Semataui.

Small Crypts at the Temple of Hathor at Dendera

Dendera Light
The temple of Hathor at Dendera has some small crypts towards the eastern, southern and western areas where these crypts are presumed to have served as warehouses or treasuries for ritual, sacred and ceremonial equipment and used divine images in celebrating the various feasts and holidays.

Though these crypts are small, it is likely that some served as location for formal rituals while many have plain, undecorated wall. Some walls have limestone instead of the sandstone of the temple that is covered with intricately carved reliefs.

Towards the southern end of the temple are five subterranean crypts placed along a straight hallway and it was in these rooms that most of the valuable statues and objects were placed including two gilt statues of Hathor which were decorated with precious stone. The statues no doubt have been vanished but they are described in the text of Francois Daumas, as one being the height of one cubit three palms and two fingers.

Dendera Light – Major Source of Controversy

Dendera Light
The Dendera light has been a major source of controversy in Egyptian history due to many fringe historians interpreting the depiction as evidence of a modern lighting system which was similar to a Crookes tube. A Swiss archaeologist Erich von Daniken supporting this theory claims that the electrical light would give an explanation to the absence of lampblack deposits in several tombs that were discovered.

Dendera Light
Besides, the Dendera light is also used in a similar context as the `Baghdad Battery’, in assuming that the ancient cultures were more advanced than what we believe today. Scholars point out that there has been no reference in historical text on the use of light or electricity which one would expect to find, if it really was an electrical lamp nor has there been any electrical items uncovered from the various archaeological sites all over Egypt. Speculations are still on regarding the Dendera relief, drawing many across the world who are keen in getting a glimpse of the unusual carving.

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