The Tzipori (Sepphoris) village in Israel’s Galilee region has revealed its latest archaeological find. On Tuesday, a group of young students participating in an archaeological excavation run by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) at the ancient site discovered an Egyptian amulet that is 3,300 years old.
The object was uncovered at a dig being conducted as part of preparations for creating a new access road. The students who dug up the amulet were among the 350 10th-graders from the ORT Kiryat Bialik high school who have spent this week helping with IAA excavations throughout the Galilee under the auspices of an Israeli Education Ministry program designed to increase youths’ connection to their communities and surroundings.
“The excitement over the discovery was immense, and the girls’ eyes lit up,” said Nimrod Getzov, the excavation’s director.
“When I came closer to see what had been found, I was surprised to see that it was an Egyptian amulet, because things like this are usually found in graves. Our excavation focuses on periods that pre-date the amulet, and it’s intriguing how it happened to wind up here,” Getzov said.
Dr. Daphna Ben-Tor, curator of Egyptian archaeology at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, who identified the scarab amulet, explained that it is “an Egyptian scarab from the times of the Ramses, the 19th Dynasty, the golden days of the pharaohs of Egypt. The scarabs were mostly used as amulets for anyone who could afford one. In most cases, they were used as burial amulets, but also [worn] by the living, and were generally originally set in rings.”