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Parts of a statue of an Egyptian official were discovered in Tel Hazor

A leg of a 1:1 scale statue may be part of a human-sized statue, which was probably a high official in the Egyptian government about 3,000 years ago

A picture of the statue together with the diggers who found it (caption: The volunteers in the excavation that found the Egyptian statue, from the right - Elena Swat from South Africa, Brian Kovacs from the United States and Valentin Sama-Rojo from Spain. The three diggers are returning volunteers, meaning that this is not their first year in Hazor). Photo: Shlomit Bacher

Historical discovery: During the current season of excavations at Tel Hazor, a part of an Egyptian statue was discovered, measuring about 45 x 40 centimeters, of which only the lower part was preserved. The size of the entire statue, the excavators speculate, is monumental and human-sized. In the sculpture, which is made of limestone, the legs of a kneeling male figure are visible with her legs crossed, sitting on a base with several lines written in the Egyptian pictorial script (hieroglyphic script). Deciphering the address is only in the initial stage, but we can already tell that it is an official - his name and position have only been partially preserved and have not yet been deciphered. The statue stands at its source or in the grave of the official or in a temple - probably of the Egyptian god Petah, and the inscriptions on the base include words of praise for the owner of the statue who may have been active in the area of ​​Memphis - the center of worship of the god Petah - and the traditional Egyptian burial formula intended to ensure the owner of the statue an eternal supply of offerings.
This is the largest private Egyptian sculpture discovered in the Levant from the period of the second millennium BC. Three years ago, a sphinx fragment of the Egyptian king Mikrinus (who ruled Egypt around 2500 BC) was discovered in Hazor, which is the largest Egyptian royal sculpture discovered so far in the Levant. The presence of these two statues in the building currently being excavated in Hazor indicates not only the importance of the building but the importance of the entire site.
According to Prof. Amnon Ben-Tor, from the Institute of Archeology at the Hebrew University, who has been excavating in Hazor for about 27 years, Hazor is the most important site from the biblical period. Shlomit Bacher, a doctoral student at the Institute of Archaeology, co-director of the Hazor excavations and has been excavating there for about 10 years and manages the main excavation area.
In the course of nearly 30 years of excavation, fragments of 18 different Egyptian statues, depicting kings or officials, as well as two sphinxes, were discovered in Hazor. Most of the sculptures were discovered in layers of the Late Bronze Age (13th-15th centuries BC), corresponding to the "New Kingdom" period in Egypt. This is the largest number of Egyptian sculptures discovered so far at any site in Israel, what is more, there is no known Egyptian presence at all in Hazor during the Late Bronze Age. Moreover - the date of most of the statues, as well as that of the statue discovered this season, is from the period of the "Middle Kingdom" (18th-19th centuries BC), a time period in which Hazor did not yet exist.
The excavators speculate that the statues were sent by an Egyptian king of the New Kingdom period (despite their "antiquity" in that time period) as gifts to King Hazor, who was the most important king in southern Canaan at the time, or were dedicated to a local temple in the city. The special status of Hazor emerges both from the biblical text, in which Hazor is referred to as "the head of all these kingdoms" (R. Joshua 10:XNUMX), and from the wording of the letters sent to the king of Egypt both by the king of Hazor and by the kings of other cities in the region, Known as the "Amarna Letters" after the site in Egypt where they were discovered.
All the statues were discovered smashed to pieces, with most of them clearly showing deliberate vandalism, which apparently happened during the conquest of the city in the 13th century BC. The practice of desecrating statues of gods, kings and other nobles during the conquest of a city is known in antiquity (R. Shmuel 1:4-9; Isaiah XNUMX:XNUMX), and not only then...

About the excavations at Tel Hazor:
Tel Hazor can rightfully be considered the "flagship" of the Hebrew University's archaeological excavations, and of Israeli archeology in general.
A delegation from the Hebrew University led by the late Professor Yigal Yedin began extensive excavations at the site in 1955. The excavations continued continuously until 1958, and were renewed in 1968-1970. The excavations were attended by researchers who are considered the "fathers" of Israeli archaeology, such as Yohanan Aharoni, Truda and Moshe Dotan, Ruth Amiran and others.
Over the years, archeology students from the Hebrew University participated in the excavations of the Yadin expedition, who over the years were involved in teaching at the various universities, the Antiquities Authority, the National Parks Authority and museums throughout the country.
Excavations at the site were resumed in 1990 under the direction of Prof. Amnon Ben Tor, from the Institute of Archeology of the Hebrew University. In fact, these days the 27th excavation season of the "Zaltz Foundation Excavations in Yigal Yedin" is taking place at the site, within the boundaries of the Tel Hazor National Park and under the auspices of the Society for the Exploration of the Land of Israel and its Antiquities.
The site is used, among other things, as a field archeology school of the Hebrew University and today the fourth generation of the institute's students receive their training in this field - the students of Yigal Yedin's students train the new students and provide them with scientific excavation methods.
Tel Hazor is the largest and most important of Israel's biblical mounds and as such has been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO. The importance of the site is evidenced by the statement that after its conquest by the settler tribes of Israel (the battle between the cities of the north of the country under the leadership of Yavin the king of Hazor and the tribes of Israel under the leadership of Joshua) - the way was opened for the settlement of the tribes of Israel in "all this land...from the smooth mountain that rises to Sheir to Baal Gad in the Lebanon Valley under Mount Hermon" (Joshua 17:XNUMX). The Israeli Hazor is a key site for testing the reliability of biblical historiography.
The Israelite Hazor was preceded by Canaanite Hazor, a city of about 15,000 to 20,000 inhabitants, which - and as the excavations proved - deservedly deserved to be called "the head of all these kingdoms" (Joshua 10:XNUMX).
The city had cultural and commercial ties with both Egypt and Babylon, and written documents discovered both in Hazor and in these two important centers clearly testify to this. Along with the written documentation, various artistic findings were also revealed, including those that were brought to Khor from near and far.
The site is designated as a national park, and the expedition has full and fruitful cooperation with the Nature and Parks Authority.

4 תגובות

  1. He would buy the shoes at the "Elephant" store.. a shoe store that was in Allenby on the corner of Nachalat Binyamin near the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv.

  2. "A period of time in which Hazor did not yet exist" - how are there findings in a city that did not exist? Maybe this riddle will finally be answered?

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