New discovery hints ancient Egypt and Israel had ties during Early Bronze Age

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Jerusalem, Sept 2 (ANI): The discovery of a rare, four-centimeter-long stone fragment at the point where the Jordan River exits Lake Kinneret, has suggested a link between ancient Egypt and Israel around 3,000 BCE during the Early Bronze Age.

According to a report in the Jerusalem Post, Tel Aviv University (TAU) and University College London archeologists found the fragment.

The piece, part of a carved stone plaque bearing archaic Egyptian signs, was the highlight of the second season of excavations at Tel Bet Yerah (Khirbet el-Kerak). he site lies along an ancient highway that connected Egypt to the wider world of the ancient Near East.

The dig, carried out within the Beit Yerah National Park, was completed there last week by a joint team headed by TAU's Raphael Greenberg and David Wengrow from England.

Earlier discoveries, both in Egypt and at Bet Yerah, have indicated that there was direct interaction between the site - then one of the largest in the Jordan Valley - and the Egyptian royal court.

The new discovery suggests that these contacts were of far greater local significance than had been suspected.

The archeologists noted that the fragment, which depicts an arm and hand grasping a scepter and an early form of the ankh sign, was the first artifact of its type ever found in an archaeological site outside Egypt.

It has been attributed to the period of Egypt's First Dynasty, at around 3000 BCE.

Finds of this nature are rare even within Egypt itself, and the signs are executed to a high quality, as good as those on royal cosmetic palettes and other monuments dating to the origins of Egyptian kingship.

This year's excavations also provided new insights into contacts between the early town and the distant north, when large quantities of "Khirbet Kerak Ware" (a distinctive kind of red/black burnished pottery first found at Tel Bet Yerah) were found in association with portable ceramic hearths, some of them bearing decorations in the form of human features.

"The hearths are very similar to objects found in Anatolia and the southern Caucasus, and most were found in open spaces where there was other evidence for fire-related activities," noted Greenberg.

"The people using this pottery appear to have been migrants or descendants of migrants, and its distribution on the site, as well as the study of other cultural aspects, such as what they ate and the way they organized their households, could tell us about their interaction with local people and their adaptation to new surroundings," he added. (ANI)

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