A group of tourists are believed to have drawn red Stars of David on the walls of the Seti I ruins in the Abydos area of Sohag Governorate. Temple officials said the defacements were new but Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Zahi Hawass said they have been there for three decades.
"The fact that the Star is incomplete and unclear proves that it is old and time has erased a part of it," Hawass said after seeing the defacements.
Temple officials are yet to identify the perpetrators, sources said, who added that visitors were denied access to the chamber where the drawings are located. Temple officials attempted to remove the drawings, according to the sources, but instead damaged some of the Pharaonic sculptures in the chamber during the clean-up process.
A restoration team has been designated to remove the drawings, Hawass said.
The walls of Seti I depict how Pharaonic religious rituals are carried out. The monument consists of seven courts, two pillar halls and 36 granite pillars. The temple also has a list of the most famous kings of Pharaonic Egypt from Mina to Seti I.
Egyptologists consider Seti I to be a terrace temple like those of Amenhotep and Hatshepsut.