The Land of Israel constantly reveals hidden treasures, testifying to its rich history. This time, a bird watcher discovered an extraordinary and rare 3,700-year-old amulet on the beach, probably belonging to a high-ranking Egyptian official.
A rare scarab seal belonging to a senior Egyptian official from the 17th and 18th centuries BCE was discovered at Tel Dor (Tantura), an archeological site located on Israel’s Mediterranean coast, about 20 miles south of Haifa.
According to the head of the excavation team, Dr. Ayelet Gilboa, of the University of Haifa’s Department of Archaeology, the seal was associated with the 13th Pharaonic dynasty, and could have belonged to the king’s viceroy who was in charge of the royal treasury.
The scarab was discovered a few months ago by Alexander Tarnopolsky, an amateur ornithologist. He handed it to the archeologists at the excavation site and now it has been cleaned and identified.
It was likely exposed by the winter rains that moved some area soil in recent months.
The seal, made of stone, is engraved in Egyptian hieroglyphic writing with the name of its owner, his role, and several signs, including the Ankh—the ancient character that reads “life,” and the pillar-like Djed symbol representing resurrection and stability. The name of the seal’s owner is yet to be decoded, but his role is described as “He who is on the treasury,” and “Carrier of the seal.”
Gilboa said “the owner of the scarab seal had a role similar to that of [biblical] Joseph’s in the Pharaoh’s kingdom, after he interpreted the king’s dreams.”
According to Prof. Ilan Sharon of the Hebrew University, who is also in charge of the excavations, the scarab is rare because it is surrounded by a gold ring and because it belonged to such a high official. “We normally discover scarabs with the names of kings, which were mass produced,” said Prof. Sharon. “It’s rare to find something this exceptional in our country.”
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