Five miles south of Tel Aviv, near Azor, students on a field trip organized by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) saw archaeology in action when Gilad Stern stumbled discovered a 3,000-year-old amulet.
The amulet is shaped like a dung beetle, an insect revered by ancient cultures as an all-powerful creator deity since it symbolizes both disintegration and regeneration because it lays its eggs in other animals’ waste. Two figures are shown on the amulet’s flat face: one has an elongated head that resembles an Egyptian pharaoh’s crown and looks to grant authority to the other, who is slightly bowed.
The amulet was made in the late Bronze Age (1,500–1,000 B.C.E. ), “when the local Canaanite monarchs lived (and occasionally rebelled) under Egyptian political and cultural hegemony,” according to Amir Golani, a senior research archaeologist at the IAA, based on the scene. Golani believes that this powerful seal either dropped from the hands of a visiting authority or was buried on purpose. It’s challenging to pinpoint the precise original context, he admitted.
Golani continued, “It is composed of faience, a silicate substance coated with a bluish-green gloss, [and] may have been set on a necklace or a ring. These Egyptian artifacts are found all over Israel, albeit not every scarab was actually created in Egypt. According to Times of Israel, the IAA stated that the level of craftsmanship on this example was “not usual for Egypt and may reflect a creation of local craftsmen” imitating the common Egyptian aesthetic.
IAA director Eli Escusido said, “The discovery of the scarab, in the context of a field trip with students doing the tour-guide course, is symbolic in that the kids were learning about archaeology while also adding to our archaeological heritage. “We are aiming to link communities with their cultural legacy, so this cooperation is extremely inspiring.”