Skip to comments.Rare sarcophagus, Egyptian scarab found in Israel
Posted on 04/17/2014 11:05:42 AM PDT by Red Badger
Israeli archaeologists have unearthed a rare sarcophagus featuring a slender face and a scarab ring inscribed with the name of an Egyptian pharaoh, Israel's Antiquities Authority said Wednesday.
The mystery man whose skeleton was found inside the sarcophagus was most likely a local Canaanite official in the service of ancient Egypt, Israeli archaeologists believe, shining a light on a period when pharaohs governed the region.
"This is a really beautiful face, very serene," said Edwin van den Brink, an Egyptologist and archaeologist with Israel's government antiquities authority. "It's very appealing."
Van den Brink said archaeologists dug at Tel Shadud, an archaeological mound in the Jezreel Valley, from December until last month. The archaeologists first uncovered the foot of the sarcophagus and took about three weeks to work their way up the coffin. Only on one of the excavation's last days did they brush away the dirt to uncover the carved face.
The lid of the clay sarcophagus is shattered, but the sculpted face remains nearly intact. It features graceful eyebrows, almond-shaped eyes, a long nose and plump lips. Ears are separated from the face, and long-fingered hands are depicted as if the dead man's arms were crossed atop his chest, in a typical Egyptian burial pose.
Experts last found such a sarcophagus about a half a century ago in Deir al Balah in the Gaza Strip, where some 50 similar coffins were dug up, mostly by grave robbers, van den Brink said. Some of them greet visitors today at the entrance to the archaeology wing at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Dozens were previously found in Beit Shean in Israel's north.
Found alongside the new sarcophagus was a scarab seal ring encased in gold, carved with the name of Pharaoh Seti I, who ruled ancient Egypt in the 13th century BC. Seti I conquered the area of today's Israel in the first year of his reign, in order to secure Egyptian trade routes and collect taxes for Egypt, said archaeologist Ron Beeri, who participated in the dig. The man buried in the sarcophagus might have been a tax collector for the pharaoh, Beeri said.
Seti I was the father of Ramses II, often identified as the pharaoh in the biblical story of the Israelite exodus, though Beeri said there is no historical evidence to support that.
DNA tests may be conducted to determine if the man in the sarcophagus was Canaanite or Egyptian, Beeri said.
The recent archaeological discovery, like most in Israel, came by happenstance. Israel's natural gas company called in archaeologists to survey the territory before laying down a pipeline. Van den Brink said the Antiquities Authority excavated only a small, 5-by-5 meter (16-by-16 foot) area, but that was enough to find the sarcophagus, the scarab and four other human remains.
Van den Brink said the site likely was a large cemetery, with other sarcophagi likely waiting to be found in future digs.
"It's just a small window that we opened," he said.
This undated photo released by Israel's Antiquities Authority shows a sarcophagus found at Tel Shadud, an archaeological mound in the Jezreel Valley. Israeli archaeologists have unearthed a rare sarcophagus featuring a slender face and a scarab ring inscribed with the name of an Egyptian pharaoh, Israel's Antiquities Authority said Wednesday April 9, 2014. (AP Photo/ Israel's Antiquities Authority)
This undated photo released by Israel's Antiquities Authority shows a scarab seal ring encased in gold, carved with the name of Pharaoh Seti I, who ruled ancient Egypt in the 13th century BC, found at Tel Shadud, an archaeological mound in the Jezreel Valley. Israeli archaeologists have unearthed a rare sarcophagus featuring a slender face and a scarab ring inscribed with the name of an Egyptian pharaoh, Israel's Antiquities Authority said Wednesday April 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Israel's Antiquities Authority)
Wow,, Seti 1? Very cool discovery.. Older than Joan rivers jokes.
Old Seti I looked a lot like Pee-Wee Herman...............
one of *those* topics.
That proves it.
Israel belongs to Egypt.
< / Putin >
Someone has a mummy fetish.
Joseph lived to the age of 110, living to see his great-grandchildren. Before he died, he made the children of Israel swear that when they left the land of Egypt they would take his bones with them, and on his death his body was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt. (Genesis 50:22-26)
The children of Israel remembered their oath, and when they left Egypt during the Exodus, Moses took Joseph's bones with him. (Exodus 13:19) The bones were buried at Shechem, in the parcel of ground which Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor (Joshua 24:32), which has traditionally been identified with site of Joseph's Tomb, before Jacob and all his family moved to Egypt. Shechem was in the land which was allocated by Joshua to the Tribe of Ephraim, one of the tribes of the House of Joseph, after the conquest of Canaan.
This find was in "an archaeological mound in the Jezreel Valley" which would be too far north.................
:’) The bad news is, Seti I isn’t nearly that old. Dr V pointed out that the 19th and 26th dynasties are basically the same thing (the 26th being an echo); but the 25th dynasty is basically in the correct place on both his chronology and the conventional pseudochronology, and preceded the 19th/26th; hence, instead of the usual ~600 years, there’s 750 or so difference between conventional and actual.
The contents of Ramses II’s canopic jar was RC dated a few years ago. The age of Rameses II’s guts are indeed nearly 800 years younger than the conventional date, so, of course, the “explanation” was that these jars had always been suspect, and that they must have been reused.
That “explanation” is complete and utter nonsense.
Seti I and his son Ramses II were traipsing all over ancient Israel, but after the whole place had been ravaged by Assyria and others.
I know what you are but what am I he he he he he he........
the Egyptians believed that anyone who bowed to the Gods of Egypt was an Egyptian! Race, nationality, where you lived and who were your people—were of no importance—Who you prayed too, and the riturals you performed was important. Another element is the language you spoke—if you spoke Copt, the language of the Nile, you were welcomed to the benifits and protection of Egypt. So Cleopatra, a Greek, was worshiped and loved as an Egyptian because she prayed to Ra, Isis, Osiris and Horus, and spoke Copt—In their eyes she was 100% Egyptian.
The tell has been explored to a depth of about thirteen meters, and another thirteen meters conceal the older strata, still unexplored. The deepest stratum explored (IX) is that of Thutmose III and is assigned to between -1501 and -1447. Stratum VIII is ascribed to the period of -1447 to -1412, , and Stratum VII to Amenhotep III, Akhnaton, and the epigoni of the Eighteenth Dynasty. Stratum VI is divided into two thick layers, the "early Seti" and the "late Seti," together composing the period from -1313 to -1292. Stratum V, the largest, is that of Ramses II ( -1292 to -1225). Stratum IV covers the time of the "Late-Ramessides, Philistines, Israelites, Assyrians, Scythians, Neo-Babylonians, Old Persians, etc." or from -1224 to -302, over nine hundred years of stormy history. This means that none of these periods has a separate stratum: one very thin layer represents all of them. But this stratum is less than one third of the stratum of Seti; in other words, the stratum of 922 years, including many consecutive important periods in the history of Beth-Shan, is equal in thickness to layers deposited every seven years during the reign of Seti; and again, this 922-year deposit is but one fifth the thickness of the stratum of Ramses II alone.
The real meaning of the strata archaeology of Beth-Shan is as follows: Strata IX to V (Thutmose III to Ramses II) cover the period of the kings from Solomon to Zedekiah and the exile. Stratum IV covers only the end of the Neo-Babylonian period (Nabonidus) and the old Persian, which is contemporaneous with the Later Ramessides. Strata III, II, and I are correctly presented as Hellenistic-Roman, Byzantine, and Arabian.
The exact order of events that ended with Ays elaborate and beautiful sarcophagus being smashed to smithereens, we do not know; but the Eighteenth Dynasty was terminated by invasion. Ay was not followed on the throne by any kin of his -- the House of Akhnaton was followed by foreign rule.
Under the Libyan Dynasty not only the worship of Amon, but even the worship of Aton survived. Amon was a deity through long periods of Egyptian history, but the worship of Aton was very characteristic for the end of the Eighteenth Dynasty only.
A stele, now in the Cairo Museum, shows a priest in office under king Osorkon II, one of the later Libyan pharaohs. The priest is described in the text as "Prophet of Amonrasonter in Karnak who contemplates Aton of Thebes" , a somewhat peculiar description which H. Kees remarked upon. He noted that it is "as if the priest had lived in Amarna times! ".
At the beginning of this century James H. Breasted drew attention to the fact that the Ethiopian temple-city Gem-Aten, known from the annals of the Nubian kings, carries the same name as Akhnaton's temple at Thebes, and that the two must be in some relation, despite the great difference in age. A relief in a Theban tomb shows Akhnaton with his family worshipping in the temple of Gem-Aten. "The name of the Theban temple of Aton therefore furnished the name of the Nubian city, and there can be no doubt that lkhenaton [Akhnaton] was its founder, and that he named it after the Theban temple of his god. . . . We have here the remarkable fact that this Nubian city of lkhenaton survived and still bore the name he gave it nearly a thousand years after his death and the destruction of the new city of his god in Egypt (Amarna)."
Herodotus in his history of Egypt placed Sennacherib's invasion in the reign of "the priest of Hephaestos, whose name was Sethos." At that time, he wrote, "king Sanacharib (came) against Egypt with a great host of Arabians and Assyrians." It is generally assumed that Herodotus or his informants made a mistake: "In the popular tradition preserved by Herodotus the name of the Egyptian king is given as 'Sethos' . . . the true appellation of the monarch has disappeared in favor of the great Seti. . . . It is impossible to reject the whole story to the actual period of Seti in face of the direct mention of Sennacherib (Sanacharaibos)."
In the conventional scheme of history Seti the Great lived in the latter part of the fourteenth century; the events with which we are now concerned took place in the final years of the eighth century. Sethos of Herodotus was now, however, Seti the Great, as was surmised by the historian quoted above: he was his grandfather. To keep the narrative free from misunderstandings, I shall call the first of that name the way Herodotos called him, "Sethos," retaining for the more famous grandson the name Seti. If we can prove our thesis then the confusion of history, for which Herodotus is not to be blamed, put the grandson six hundred years before his grandfather.
Sennacherib invaded Egypt twice. His first campaign resulted in a victory for the Assyrians and Egypt's submission; his second, fifteen years later, as it will be told, ended in disaster. Sennacherib's records speak only of his first campaign and are silent about the second; the Scriptures do not distinguish between the two campaigns; and in the Egyptian record, transmitted by Herodotus, only the second campaign was remembered. Each of our sources has preserved only a part of the story, and to obtain the complete picture we must draw on each of them in turn.
The road to Egypt and the flanks having been made secure, Esarhaddon wrote: "I trod upon Arzani [to] the Brook of Egypt." We had already occasion to explain the geographical term Arzani as the Hebrew Arzenu, "our land" by which the Scriptures (Joshua 9:11, Judges 16:24, Psalms 85:10, Micah 5:4) repeatedly refer to Israel and Judah; by the same term ('rezenu) this land was known to the rulers of the Eighteenth Dynasty, Thutmose and others. "Brook of Egypt," or in the Assyrian text Nahal Musur, is Nahal Mizraim of Hebrew texts; it is Wadi el-Arish, the historical frontier of Egypt and Palestine. The "town of the Brook of Egypt" in Esarhaddon's inscription is el-Arish, the ancient Avaris.
It was in his tenth year, or -671, that Esarhaddon entered Egypt: he marched unopposed only as far as a place he calls Ishupri: there he met his adversary, Tirhaka, king of Ethiopia (Nubia) and Egypt. The progress from here on was slow; it took fifteen days to advance from Ishupri to Memphis, close to the apex of the Delta a few miles south from present-day Cairo.
"From the town of Ishupri as far as Memphis, his royal residence, a distance of fifteen days' march, I fought daily, without interruption, very bloody battles against Tirhakah, king of Egypt and Ethiopia, the one accursed by all the great gods. Five times I hit him with the point of my arrows, inflicting wounds from which he should not recover, and then I laid siege to Memphis, his royal residence, and conquered it in half a day by means of mines, breaches, and assault ladders; I destroyed it, tore down its walls, and burned it down."
Before we go on to recount the events that followed, we should examine more closely the question which was the "town of Ishupri" that Esarhaddon mentions as the starting point in his confrontation with Tirhaka. Its name was not known from the list of cities compiled from hieroglyphic texts of the imperial age of Egypt, and it intrigued the Orientalists. When their efforts to find its derivation were crowned with success, the solution raised a rather grave question.
Ishupri was understood as an Assyrian transcription of the throne name of pharaoh Sethos (Wesher-khepru-re) and meaning "Sethosville" or the like. The leading German Orientalist Albrecht Alt came to this conclusion, and the solution was accepted by other Orientalists. The question raised by this solution was in the enormous time span between Sethos and Esarhaddon on the conventional time-table. Sethos (in the conventional history Seti II) is placed in the second part of the thirteenth century, and Esarhaddon ruled Assyria from -681 to -668, invading Egypt in -671; in between there lie some five hundred and seventy years. The survival of the name Sethosville (Ishupri) was estimated by Alt as "remarkable," and even more remarkable (um so bemerkenswerter) is the fact that for these almost six hundred years this locality remained unmentioned in the hieroglyphic texts and appeared for the first time in the annals of Esarhaddon. In his inscriptions he refers to Ishupri not less than three times. How did an Assyrian king of the seventh century come to call a fortress or a locality east of the Delta, possibly at Kantara of today, by the name of an obscure pharaoh of an age long past? Or why did this city name, familiar to Esarhaddon, escape mention in all texts, Egyptian or others, prior to -671? Should it not have been preserved on some document belonging to the king who built it or the following generations, if the city was called after him?
In the present reconstruction Sethos is recognized as the grandfather of Seti the Great; we found him in the history of Herodotus as the adversary of Sennacherib, father of Esarhaddon. He was considered a savior of Egypt and it was therefore only natural to find that a city or fortress guarding the Asiatic frontier was named after him: Esarhaddon on his campaign to recover Egypt, only a few years after the events of -687, called it by the name it then carried "House of Sethos," or "Sethosville." Sethos, the adversary of Esarhaddon's father, could even have been still alive.
In the course of the brief reign of Ramses I (Necho I), Tirhaka, who had fought against Sennacherib, Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal, died at his capital of Napata. In Assurbanipal's words, "The night of death overtook him." He left behind, widowed, his chief wife Duk-hat-amun, but no sons -- a son and another wife had been captured years earlier by Esarhaddon in Memphis and deported to Assyria. The succession to the Ethiopian throne would pass through Duk-hat-amun if she could find a husband of royal blood; if not, Tirhaka's nephew, Tandamane, was next in the line of succession.
In the biography of Suppiluliumas, compiled by his son Mursilis, there is quoted a letter from a queen of Egypt named Dakhamun: "My husband died," she wrote, "and I have no son. People say that you have many sons. If you were to send me one of your sons, he might become my husband." She added she did not wish to marry a commoner from among her subjects. Since the reign of Suppiluliumas has been placed about 600 years before the reign of Tirhaka, the identity of Dakhamun has remained a mystery. She is usually identified as one of Akhnaton's daughters. But of all the queens of ancient Egypt, only one had a name that corresponds to Dakhamun of the annals of Mursilis -- namely, Duk-hat-amun, the widow of Tirhaka...
At this, Suppiluliumas "complied with the lady's wishes," and sent her a prince.
But a few weeks later the news arrived that the prince had been assasinated. Whether this was done by the Assyrians, who held control over Syria-Palestine, as well as northern Egypt, or whether a court intrigue by the opponents of Duk-hat-amun caused the prince's death is not known.
"Not far into Asia, Seti apparently meets a fortified town, to which the relief gives the name Pekanan [Pekanon]. . . . Exactly what this name means here is not certain." A scene on a bas-relief illustrates the occupation of the fortress Pekanon in Palestine... A few other places in the plain of Jezreel are also mentioned as having been occupied with the intention of repelling the invasion of the foreigners, but prominence is given to Pekanon.
No reference to the city of Pekanon is found in previous lists of Palestinian cities compiled by the pharaohs, nor had the Israelites found a city by that name when they occupied Canaan. Some scholars presume that it may mean Pi-Canaan or "The Canaan," but others disagree. The name has the sign of a country, but it is pictured on the bas-relief as a city. This suggests that the city was the capital of a country.
The city of Pekanon must have existed for but a short moment. It is conceded that Egyptian documents before Seti (whose reign, according to the conventional chronology, started in -1310) do not know such a city. Hebrew annals containing a list of the Palestinian cities of the thirteenth century (the supposed time of the conquest by Joshua) do not know it either. In the Egyptian sources Pekanon is met once more on the stele of Merneptah (the grandson of Seti), who mentions the Israelites in Palestine. Thus the name Pekanon became a hopeless issue in historical geography.
Pekanon was a city fortified by Pekah, the next to the last king of Israel. Cities built, rebuilt, or fortified by kings were often named in their honor. Pekah, son of Remaliah, reigned in Samaria for twenty years (II Kings 15:27). He was a ruler eager for enterprises, from the day he slew Pekahiah, his master, until the day he slaughtered 120,000 people of Judah and "carried away captive of their brethren two hundred thousand" (II Chronicles 28:8), only to release them shortly thereafter.
According to the reconstruction of history offered here, Pekah preceded Seti the Great by two generations. This order of things explains why, in the list of Thutmose III containing the names of hundreds of Palestinian and Syrian localities, the name of Pekanon does not appear, and why, in the biblical register of cities of Canaan, there is no mention of this name in the days of Joshua's conquest or later. Judging by the significance attached to Pekanon in the records of Seti, it was an important city in or near the Esdraelon Valley, renamed by King Pekah, who rebuilt or fortified it.
Chapters 4-6 of the young Jeremiah are generally regarded as expressing the fear of the people of Palestine at the approach of the Scythian hordes. The prophet spoke of the evil that would come down from the north and a great destruction (4:6), of whole cities that would "flee for the noise of the horsemen and bowmen" (4:29), of "a mighty nation . . . whose language thou knowest not" (5:15). "Behold, a people cometh from the north country, and a great nation shall be raised from the sides of the earth" (6:22).
The Egyptian king, however, succeeded by persuasion in halting their advance toward Egypt. He, like the Scythians, was an ally of Assurbanipal. According to Herodotus, Psammetichos was besieging a city in Palestine when the Scythians reached that country.
I have identified Seti the Great with Psammetichos of Herodotus. Now we are bound to ask: What city was Psammetichos besieging when the Scythians descended from the north?
The translation of the Seventy (Septuagint) calls Beth-Shan by the name of Scythopolis; so do Josephus and Eusebius. Georgius Syncellus, the Byzantine chronologist, explained that the use of the name Scythopolis for Beth-Shan was due to the presence of Scythians, who had remained there from among the invading hordes in the days of Psammetichos.
As has been said above, Beth-Shan was besieged and occupied by Seti, and his steles and the graves of the Greek mercenaries who served with him were discovered there. Ramses II, his successor, also occupied Beth-Shan for some time, but no vestiges have been found there of Egyptian kings of later times. The conventional chronology compelled the archaeologists of Beth-Shan to conclude that after Seti and Ramses II the city was practically uninhabited until the time of the Neo-Babylonian Empire in the seventh century, although from the Scriptures we know that Beth-Shan was an important city in the days of Judges and Kings.
Seti-meri-en-Ptah Men-maat-Re, who left his steles in Beth-Shan, was Psammetichos of Herodotus. It was the seventh century.
[Jan Sammer's Editorial Postscript] Kadesh of Seti's Conquest: This identification was given in brief in Velikovsky's article in KRONOS III:3, mentioned above. The relevant passage reads: "There is a mural that shows Seti capturing a city called Kadesh. Modern scholars recognized that this Kadesh or Temple City was not the Kadesh mentioned in the annals of Thutmose. Whereas the Kadesh of Thutmose was in southern Palestine, the Kadesh of Seti was in Coele-Syria. The position of the northern city suggested that it was Dunip, the site of an Amon temple built in the days of Thutmose III. Dunip, in its turn, was identified with Baalbek.'
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