Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ancient Egyptian scarab found within the City of David

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When the Egyptians ruled Jerusalem: The ancient scarab bears the name of the sun god. | Photo credit: Vladimir Neihin

Excavations have recovered an ancient Egyptian scarab dated to the 13th century B.C.E. (the Late Bronze Age). Found within the City of David National Park, which is situated within the most ancient part of Jerusalem, the scarab is attributed to Egypt's 19th Dynasty, a period of Egyptian hegemony over the city that was actually a Jebusite settlement at the time. The Jebusites were a tribe of Canaanites that built and developed Jerusalem before its conquest by King David during the 10th century, according to the Biblical account.  

The seal is about a centimeter and a half in length and was used to stamp documents.

It bears the name, in Egyptian hieroglyphic writing, of the sun god Amon-Ra, one of Egypt's most important deities. It is made of soft gray stone and also bears the imprint of a duck, which was apparently one of the sun god's symbols.

"This is the first time we've found a scarab of this kind in the City of David," said Shukron. "The seal is from the late Bronze period, during which time the land of Israel was under Egyptian rule. It's exciting and interesting to have discovered this unique artifact, and it gives us a glimpse into Jerusalem during that era.

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