Egyptian Archaeologists Invited to Excavate in Saudi Arabia
Egyptian archaeologists may start exploring two ancient sites in Saudi Arabia as early as this November, announced Zahi Hawass, leading archaeologist and Egypt’s former Minister of State for Antiquities. Through earlier excavations, both archaeological sites appear to be associated with Pharaoh Ramesses III’s trade expeditions to this region, some 3,200 years ago. Previously discovered Egyptian scarabs and hieroglyphic inscriptions, containing the name of Ramesses III, attest to the pharaoh’s involvement on the Arabian Peninsula, across the Red Sea from Egypt. Archaeological surveys and excavations might provide further evidence of the interactions between pharaonic Egypt and the civilizations of ancient Arabia.
Hawass has been reluctant to provide specifics on the planned archaeological mission and its expectations. He nevertheless revealed (to Al-Monitor and other Egyptian media outlets) that one of the two sites to be explored in northwestern Saudi Arabia lies closer to the shore. The other is inland, in the region of Tayma‘—an ancient commercial and economic hub known for its frankincense, copper, gold, and silver. The Egyptian archaeological mission will additionally survey a number of possible trade routes, where they could discover more rock inscriptions attesting to Egypt’s connections with ancient Arabia. New discoveries may potentially reveal a much broader chronological frame for the Egyptian presence in the area and might expand our understanding of their motivations.
Multiple Egyptian antiquities officials expressed their excitement about the first Egyptian mission to dig for pharaonic antiquities in Saudi Arabia. Some experts even voiced their wish that the novel exploration enhance cooperation between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, not only in the area of archaeological research but also on the geopolitical stage. This news of a possible archaeological partnership comes at a time when Egypt and Saudi Arabia appear to be forging closer political and economic ties. The two countries have recently signed more than a dozen agreements and also announced plans to build a gigantic bridge over the Red Sea that would connect both countries.
Dig into more than 9,000 articles in the Biblical Archaeology Society’s vast library plus much more with an All-Access pass.
Out of Egypt: The Archaeological Context of the Exodus by James K. Hoffmeier
Every spring as Passover nears, TV audiences in America are accustomed to seeing Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments starring Charlton Heston as Moses and Yul Brynner as Ramesses II, the putative pharaoh of the Exodus. For millions, the images from this classic film have shaped their understanding of the bondage of the Hebrews in Egypt and their triumphant departure under their liberator Moses who subsequently receives the Law from God at Mt. Sinai.
Egyptian Papyrus Sheds New Light on Jewish History by Karel van der Toorn
The name of the papyrus scroll is prosaic, but its contents are dynamite. Papyrus Amherst 63 contains a compilation of about 35 Aramaic literary texts from the seventh and sixth centuries B.C.E. Among them are three Israelite psalms, only one of which—Psalm 20—appears in the Hebrew Bible.
Who Really Built the Pyramids?: A surprising discovery lay buried in the sands near the Giza pyramids—a cemetery containing tombs of the workers. by Zahi Hawass
History has not been kind to some of us. We typically refer, for instance, to the Great Pyramid of Giza, built by the Egyptian pharaoh Khufu during the Fourth Dynasty (c. 2575–2465 B.C.). But King Khufu did not build his pyramid; rather, he hired or conscripted others to do the work, a crew that must have numbered in the thousands. What do we know about them?
Sign up to receive our email newsletter and never miss an update.
Dig into the world of Bible history with a BAS All-Access membership. Biblical Archaeology Review in print. AND online access to the treasure trove of articles, books, and videos of the BAS Library. AND free Scholar Series lectures online. AND member discounts for BAS travel and live online events.Subscribe Today