Ancient Egyptian artifacts in Israel
A person with a metal detector recently unearthed a rare 600-year-old ring that depicts St. George and the dragon. The picture shows the ancient seal rings and seals typical of Egyptian culture, discovered during an archaeological excavation in a cave in southern Israel, are displayed at Rockefeller Archaeological Museum in Jerusalem on Apr. 1, 2015. Reuters/Baz Ratner

Archeologists, working in an underground cave in southern Israel, found 3,000-year-old Egyptian artifacts left behind by robbers, reports said. The researchers found Scarab seals, figurines and amulets carrying inscribed images of Egyptian gods dating back to the Bronze Age.

Officials from the Israel Antiquities Authority’s (IAA) unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery said that they found indications that showed that a cave near Kibbutz Lahav in the Tel Halif region in southern Israel was looted, according to LiveScience. When officials investigated the area they found the artifacts and said that as of now, the purpose of placing the objects in the cave is not clear. Officials reportedly also found several intact ceramic pots, bronze jewelry, shells and faience, oil lamps, amulets, alabaster jars, cosmetic vessels, and Egyptian scarab seals dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries B.C.

Yoli Shwartz, a spokeswoman for IAA, said, according to the Jerusalem Post, that authorities “thwarted further damage to the cave and carried out a salvage excavation there, in order to save the artifacts and extremely valuable archeological information from the robbers’ pickaxes.”

Some of the seals reportedly carry the names of the kings who ruled at the time, while one artifact showed a sphinx next to the name of the pharaoh Thutmose, who ruled from 1504-1450 B.C., Daphna Ben-Tor, curator of Egyptian archaeology at the Israel Museum, said, according to LiveScience, which cited the statement from the IAA. He also added that another scarab seal was found, bearing the name of Amenhotep, who ruled from 1386 to 1349 B.C. Ptah, the principal god of Memphis, was also found inscribed on another scarab.

Amir Ganor, director of the Robbery Prevention Unit, reportedly said that further investigation into the artifacts showed that some of the objects were made in Egypt and were brought to ancient Canaan by the Israelites or merchants. Canaan, which is believed to have included the modern-day Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, western Jordan, and southwestern Syria, was also under Egyptian rule at the time. Ganor added that other artifacts were made in ancient Israel, using methods that were used by the Egyptians.

“Egyptian authority was not only manifested in political and military control, but was a strong cultural influence that contributed to shaping society,” Dr. Amir Golani from IAA said, according to the Jerusalem Post, adding: “Along with an administration of Egyptian officials in Israel, a group of the local elite evolved in the country who adopted many of the Egyptian customs and their artistry.

“The investigation of the cave and the finds is still in its early stages, and upon completing the treatment of the hundreds of objects that were exposed, it will be possible to add important information regarding Egypt’s influence on the population of the Land of Israel in the biblical period,” Golani said.