An Israeli man accidentally discovered a 3,500-year-old Egyptian seal while hiking with his family in the hills of the Lower Galilee in northern Israel on Tuesday, February 2.
While on a hiking trip with his children at the Horns of Hattin (“Karnei Hittin”) historic site, Amit Haklai noticed a conspicuous white object amidst the black basalt rocks. Upon closer inspection, Haklai noticed that it was carved in the shape of a scarab and contained several hieroglyphs. He reported the find to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).
The seal was later inspected by Dr. Daphna Ben-Tor, the curator of Egyptian archaeology at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Dr. Ben-Tor identified the artifact as a 3,500-year-old sacred scarab amulet popular in the ancient Egyptian empire, which included the lands of the Galilee.
According to Dr. Ben-Tor, this particular seal is dedicated to Pharaoh Thutmose III, who reigned around the 15th century B.C. and imposed Egyptian administrative rule over Canaan, which was modern-day Israel.
“The scarab held sacred cosmological meanings to the ancient Egyptians,” explained Dr. Ben-Tor. “Many such sacred scarab amulets were found around Israel, demonstrating the cultural, economic, and political Egyptian influence over Canaan during the Bronze Age,” she concluded.
The Horns of Hattin are mostly famous for being the staging ground of the decisive battle of the First Crusade, where Saladin defeated the armies of the Crusaders thus bringing the First Crusader Kingdom to an end in 1187.
“Despite the fact that the artifact was found on the surface and not in a dig, we can still link it to the existence of a military fort dating to the Late Bronze Age. While the fort was destroyed during the 13th century B.C., the remains of the fort mixed in with many layers litter the site to this very day,” IAA archaeologist Yardena Alexander told Tazpit Press Service (TPS).
Amit Haklai received an official commendation from the IAA for discovering the artifact and handing it over to the IAA.