When it comes to internet mythology about alleged alien assistance to the ancient Egyptians, the hieroglyphs in the picture are ground zero. As with the case of the lightbulb in Egyptian art, and the mis-identified picture of an alien grey in an Egyptian wall painting, the claim that there were technologically advanced flying craft in ancient Egypt is utterly bogus.

The glyphs in question are in the temple of Seti I at Abydos. I have blogged about these glyphs before, explaining that they are a well-known and classic instance of hieroglyphic superimposition — a palimpset. In briefest terms, the panel in Seti I’s tomb on which the current glyphs was originally carved with a set of “normal” hieroglyphs. At a subsequent point in time, the glyphs were plastered over and re-carved — a well-known phenomenon in ancient Egyptian monumental writing. After centuries of time, the plaster came off, revealing what we see now — two sets of hieroglyphs superimposed. That is why some of the shapes on this panel are unlike any others in Egypt.

The mdw-ntr website has a detailed, thorough, splendidly illustrated step-by-step explanation of this process. It is absolutely certain that these hieroglyphs are the result of carving one set of glyphs over another for a simple reason: each set of glyphs is known from other texts.  It is quite easy to illustrate how the “helicopter” came about from both sets of glyphs. If you want the truth, it’s all here.