Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ancient Egyptians in Arabia

Al Ahram Weekly (Nevine El-Aref)

The discovery of a hieroglyphic engraving in Saudi Arabia suggests that the ancient Egyptian empire extended further than previously recognised, reports Nevine El-Aref

Archaeologists from the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) have discovered what is believed to be the first ever ancient Egyptian royal artefact to be unearthed in Saudi Arabia.

The object, a rock engraving endorsed with a dual cartouche of Pharaoh Ramses III, was found at the northern town of Tabuk in Taima Oasis, 400km north of Medina. A Pharaoh of the 20th Dynasty, Ramses III ruled from 1185 to 1153 BC.

The discovery was made during routine excavations carried out within the framework of an SCTA archaeological survey being conducted on several sites in the kingdom to establish relationships with other civilisations in different historical periods.

Taima is the largest archaeological site in the kingdom and the Arabian peninsula. The remains of ancient walls reveal that habitation of the oasis can be dated to as far back as the Bronze Age. Taima is mentioned in ancient texts dating from the eighth century BC, and excavators recently found the royal complex of the last king of Babylon, Nabonidus (556-539), who spent 10 years in Taima. Last year they also discovered a fragment of a cuneiform text mentioning Nabonidus.

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