Egyptian coffin with king’s name found in Israel

Published on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 by Webmaster

Egyptian coffin with king’s name found in Israel
A late Bronze Age tomb containing bronze and ceramic votive artifacts and a ceramic coffin — the final resting place of a man who died some 3,300 years ago — was discovered by Israeli archaeologists in the Jezreel Valley last month, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Wednesday

But while the objects in the grave point to Egyptian influence, researchers say it is likely the tomb belonged to a local Canaanite carrying cultural hallmarks of a powerful ruler of the Nile kingdom.

The find, which also contained a golden scarab, was discovered by workers installing a natural gas pipeline near Kibbutz Sarid, about 15 kilometers (10 miles) southwest of Nazareth in the northern Jezreel Valley.

A team of Israel Antiquities archaeologists were called to perform a rescue operation after the site was uncovered.

Excavation directors Dr. Edwin van den Brink, Dan Kirzner and Dr. Ron Be'eri of the IAA said in a statement that they found "a cylindrical clay coffin with an anthropoid lid (a cover fashioned in the image of a person) surrounded by a variety of pottery consisting mainly of storage vessels for food, tableware, cultic vessels and animal bones. As was the custom, it seems these were used as offerings for the gods, and were also meant to provide the dead with sustenance in the afterlife." Also in the grave were a bronze drinking bowl and a bronze dagger, all of which bore the marks of Canaanite, not Egyptian, design.

On the lid of the coffin is a naturalistic impression of a man's face, with stylized hair in an Egyptian style, ears and, like sarcophagi of Egyptian pharaohs, hands crossed over the chest in the manner of the deceased. Inside was the body of an adult male — likely a wealthy man or a Canaanite official — beside whom lay a small golden scarab seal bearing the throne name of King Seti I of Egypt, one of the most powerful rulers of the Nile over 3,000 years ago.

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