Passover announcement of ancient Egyptian tomb discovered in Israel
Just days before Passover, the traditional Jewish festival celebrating the Israelites’ freedom from enslavement in Egypt, the Israel Antiquities Authority released an announcement declaring that an ancient Egyptian tomb had been uncovered in the Jezreel Valley, in the north of Israel.
The tomb contains human remains, an ornate stone coffin, and a variety of pottery, and is dated to the late Bronze Age, around the thirteenth century BCE.
The clay sarcophagus coffin features the anthropoidal carving of a man dressed up in Egyptian style, with stylized hair and hands crossed over his chest. Dr. Edwin van den Brink, Dan Kirzner and Dr. Ron Be’eri of the Israel Antiquities Authority, who announced the find, proposed two theories for the origins of the buried man: first, that he was a local Canaanite official employed by the Egyptian army; and second, but less likely, that he was a local man simply imitating the funeral traditions of the Egyptians. Further DNA testing is planned to determine the exact origin of the owner of the grand tomb.
The Pharaohs of Egypt conquered what is now the land of Israel in the 13th century BCE, and established a military presence around the land. Earlier finds in Gaza and in Beit Shean have given researchers information on that period, and scarabs uncovered in the recent dig have also mentioned the king of the time - Pharaoh Seti I. Seti was the father of Pharaoh Rameses II, thought to be the pharaoh referred to in the biblical account of the exodus from Egypt.
The finds were uncovered in a dig at Tel Shadud, near Kibbutz Sarid in the Jezreel Valley, as part of pipe construction. Israeli law requires archaeological surveys before major infrastructure work in several places in the country, including Jaffa and Jerusalem. The archaeological dig was financed by INGL, the Israel Natural Gas Lines Company, who are planning to set pipes in the area, and will have to take the new finds into consideration.
Tel Shadud is thought to be the ancient town of Sarid mentioned in the bible as part of the territory of the tribe of Zebulun, and which was conquered by the Pharaonic Egyptians when they built up their administrative headquarters in the nearby Beit Shean. In the first year of his reign, a rebellion broke out against Seti I in the Beit Shean region.