Israeli archaeologists working at the City of David excavations in Jerusalem recently uncovered a rare 13th century B.C.E. Egyptian scarab. The scarab dates to Egypt’s 19th dynasty, which was marked by military campaigns and conquests in Canaan. According to dig directors Eli Shukron and Joe Uziel, the artifact is the first of its kind in the City of David excavations, and it serves as a material reflection of the Egyptian presence in Israel during the period.
The soft gray stone Egyptian scarab was used as a stamp seal to close and sign documents. It is less than one inch long, and features an imprinted image of a duck along with the name of the sun god Amon-Ra in hieroglyphics. The April find date nearly missed Passover, the holiday commemorating the Hebrew Exodus from Egypt. While it remains a highly debated subject, some scholars have posited a 13th century B.C.E. date for the Exodus;* the recently excavated scarab serves as a reminder of the relations and conflicts between the Hebrews and Egyptians during the era.