Just in time for Passover, Israeli archaeologists have found a rare Egyptian artifact in Jerusalem. An Egyptian scarab, dating back to the 13th century B.C.E. (the era when some scholars speculate the Exodus may have occurred) was uncovered on Thursday at an excavation sponsored by the Israel Antiquities Authority at the City of David National Park.
The seal is about a centimeter and a half in length and was used to stamp documents.
It bears the name, in Egyptian hieroglyphic writing, of the sun god Amon-Ra, one of Egypt's most important deities. It is made of soft gray stone and also bears the imprint of a duck, which was apparently one of the sun god's symbols.
The scarab is from the period of Egypt's 19th dynasty, which was known for its military conquests in Canaan.
"This is the first time we've found a scarab of this kind in the City of David," said archaeologist Eli Shukrun, who is directing the dig along with Dr. Joe Uziel.
"The seal is from the late Bronze period, during which time the land of Israel was under Egyptian rule. It's exciting and interesting to have discovered this unique artifact, and it gives us a glimpse into Jerusalem during that era."