(Zachi Dvira, Ir David Foundation via AP)
ncient Egyptian amulet

Neshama Speilman

Neshama Speilman and the amulet she found. (Adina Graham, Ir David Foundation via AP)

A young girl digging through rubble illegally removed by the Islamic Waqf from the Temple Mount discovered a rare 3,200-year-old amulet dating from the ancient pharaohs.

A 12-year-old Israeli girl has discovered an ancient Egyptian amulet dating back more than 3,200 years to the days of the Pharaohs, an official said Tuesday.

Neshama Spielman and her family took part in the Temple Mount Sifting Project, an initiative to sort through earth discarded from the area of the biblical temples in Jerusalem .

There she found a pendant-shaped amulet bearing the name of the Egyptian ruler Thutmose III. The girl said she found the amulet four years ago, when she was eight.

The small amulet is in the shape of a pendant, missing its bottom part, measures 21mm wide, 4 mm thick and its preserved length is 16 mm. A loop on top allowed it to be strung and hung on the neck. The raised decoration displays a cartouche – an oval frame surrounding Egyptian hieroglyphics bearing the name of the Egyptian ruler. Above the oval framing is the symbol of an eye, and to its right are remnants of yet another hieroglyphic symbol depicting a cobra of which parts of the head and tail are preserved.

While Egyptian scarabs bearing the name of Thutmose III have previously been discovered in Jerusalem, this represents the first time his name has been found in Jerusalem adorning an amulet.

Zeev Orenstein, an official with City of David foundation which supports the sifting project, explained that it can take years to determine the provenance and importance of such archaeological finds.

Thutmose III was an important pharaoh who expanded the Egyptian empire north into the land of Israel. He conducted 17 conquest campaigns and got as far as Syria, and subdued a Canaanite kings alliance in 1457 BCE, boasting to have conquered 1000 Canaanite cities.

More than 170,000 volunteers have participated since the project began in 2004.

The discovery comes days before Jews celebrate the holiday of Passover, marking their freedom from bondage in Egypt.

“While I was sifting, I came across a piece of pottery that was different from others I had seen, and I immediately thought that maybe I had found something special,” said Spielman on Tuesday.

“It’s amazing to find something thousands of years old from ancient Egypt all the way here in Jerusalem! Celebrating Passover this year is going to be extra meaningful to me,” she said.

By: AP and United with Israel Staff

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