The Austrian Archaeological mission from the Austrian Archaeological Centre in Egypt unearthed a fragment of a cuneiform seal impression dating to the last decades of the Babylonian Kingdom.
Culture Minister Farouk Hosni made the announcement today, adding that the seal impression was found inside a pit that cuts into layers of the Late Period in Tel El-Daba, an archaeological site in the Sharqiya governorate, 120 km north-east Cairo.
Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), said that the seal impression bears the name of a top governmental official who lived during the old Babylonian era, during the reign of king Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC).
“This is the second cuneiform seal impression of this type to be found,” Hawass pointed out, adding that the first example was unearthed last year inside the well of the palace of the Hyksos king Khayan (1653-1614 BC).
Dr. Manfred Bietak, the head of the Austrian mission, said that both seal impressions are of great archaeological importance, as they are the oldest to be found in Egypt. They are dated to 150 years before the cuneiform correspondence found in the capital of Akhenaten at Tel El-Amarna. “They are evidence that the Hyksos had foreign relations and extensive connections in the Near East that at this time reached southern Mesopotamia,” concluded Bietak.
Dr. Irene Forstner Muller, director of the mission, said that excavations carried out by the mission at aTel El-Daba can be dated back to 2006 when they found a palace dating to the middle of the Hyksos reign (1664-1565 BC). Inside it they unearthed a number of seals of a well known Hyksos king. The mission also found an old house with several rooms and yards along with a collection of round containers, animal bones and glasses.
The remains of a 5th Dynasty edifice were also found for the first time in this area, which houses a number of rooms, halls and yards that may have been used for administrative purposes.
Egypt State Information Service
An Austrian archaeological mission discovered the remains of a seal made of burnt clay with inscriptions in cuneiform, said Culture Minister Farouq Hosni.
The remains of the seal, found by the mission of the Austrian Archaeological Institute in Cairo and the Egyptology Institute of the University of Vienna, were unearthed during excavation works in the archaeological area of Tal El-Daba'a in al-Sharqiya governorate, 120 kilometres northeast Cairo
Zahi Hawas, the Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), said the seal, dating back to the Babylonian era, namely the ruling time of King Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC), is the second of its kind to be discovered by the Austrian mission.
“The first seal is similar to this one. It had been discovered inside the palace of King Khayan of the Hyksos (1653-1614 BC), dating back the late Babylonian era,” said Hawas in statements.
Manfred Bietak, the Chief of the Austrian archaeological mission in Egypt, said the two seals are of paramount importance, being the most ancient Babylonian ones found in Egypt as they date back to 150 years before the discovery of similar seals inside the ancient archaeological city of Tal al-Amarna.
Bietak noted that the two seals also indicate that the Hyksos, known as the shepherd kings and had been notorious Asiatic invaders, had trade relations with the Far East that stretched to Babylonia.
Hammurabi is the sixth King of Babylon from 1792 BC to 1750 BC. He became the first king of the Babylonian Empire following the abdication of his father, Sin-Muballit, extending Babylon's control over Mesopotamia by winning a series of wars against neighbouring kingdoms. Although his empire controlled all of Mesopotamia at the time of his death, his successors were unable to maintain his empire.
Hammurabi is known for the set of laws called Hammurabi's Code, one of the first written codes of law in recorded history.
These laws were written on a stone tablet standing over eight feet tall (2.4 meters) that was found in 1901. Owing to his reputation in modern times as an ancient law-giver, Hammurabi's portrait is in many government buildings throughout the world.