July 9, 2013

Tuesday, July 09, 2013 - ,, No comments

Northern Israeli archaeological site unveils granite fragment of Egyptian sphinx -- ancient plunder or gift?

Archaeologist Shlomit Blecher discovered part of a granite Egyptian sphynx in Israel in August 2012, raising the question of plunder or gift?

Dr. Blecher, who manages the The Selz Foundation Hazor Excavations in Memory of Yigael Yadin, works at Tel Hazor, the ancient Canaanite and Israelite city located in modern Northern Israel.

Here's a YouTube Video from the AFP news agency showing the site and the size of the fragment in comparison to the person holding the granite claws, forearms and hieroglyphics.
Its discovery also marks the first time ever that researchers have found a statue dedicated to Egyptian ruler Mycerinus who ruled circa 2,500 BC and was builder of one of the three Giza pyramids, an expert said.
How did this object travel north? The AFP offers options:
How, when and why it reached Tel Hazor remains a mystery.
"That it arrived in the days of Mycerinus himself is unlikely, since there were absolutely no relations between Egypt and this part of the world then," said Ben-Tor.
"Egypt maintained relations with Lebanon, especially via the ancient port of Byblos, to import cedar wood via the Mediterranean, so they skipped" today's northern Israel, he said.
Another option is that the statue was part of the plunders of the Canaanites, who in the late 17th and early 16th century BC ruled lower Egypt, the expert said.
"Egyptian records tell us that those foreign rulers... plundered and desecrated the local temples and did all kinds of terrible things, and it is possible that some of this looting included a statue like this one".
But to Ben-Tor the most likely way the sphinx reached Tel Hazor is in the form of a gift sent by a later Egyptian ruler.
"The third option is that it arrived in Hazor some time after the New Kingdom started in 1,550 BC, during which Egypt ruled Canaan, and maintained close relations with the local rulers, who were left on their thrones," he said.
"In such a case it's possible the statue was sent by the Egyptian ruler to king of Hazor, the most important ruler in this region."