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.
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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.
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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?
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Since when have you started rewriting history? Except for a few occupations, “The Sinai Peninsula has been a part of Egypt from the First Dynasty of ancient Egypt (c. 3100 BC)” [ according to history & quoting Wikipedia ] Even though the name ‘Sinai Peninsula’ has only recently in Egypt’s history has been given to it – Egypt has almost always been in possession of that piece of land. So, NO, ‘Ramesses III in Arabia?’ – don’t think so! If the dig is in the Sinai Peninsula – NOT the Arabian Peninsula – then whatever you find of Ramesses III is still in Egypt – !!! Quit trying to give your heritage away!