Egyptian bronze figurines shed light on ancient trade

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Recently discovered 3,000-year-old bronze figurines in Tanis, Egypt, may answer questions about international trade in ancient Egypt, a research team said.

The study, recently published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, was led by Dr Shirly Ben-Dor Evian, curator of the Israel Museum for Egyptian Archeology, and Professor Erez Ben-Yosef of Tel Aviv University.

The four figurines date back to a period after the collapse of great civilizations, when the 21st Dynasty of Egypt ruled the city of Tanis in Lower Egypt, a fraction of the size of the empire of their ancestors. . It was a time of internal strife in Egypt, and there is no textual record of the time, so when their graves were discovered 80 years ago, researchers didn’t understand why they included so many imported objects.

Bronze figurines were important for the study because gold cannot be traced back to its source, but copper in bronze can.

The research team took tiny samples of the figurines and found that the Egyptian pharaohs had imported them from the southern parts of Israel and today’s Jordan, showing that despite internal conflicts, Egypt continued to grow. be important in the region. .

In addition to providing knowledge about the copper mines of Timna (Israel) and Faynan (Jordan), this discovery shed light on the relationship between Egypt, biblical Israel and Edom, which contributed to the prosperity of Egypt, even in times of instability, refuting the hypothesis that the collapse of the late Bronze Age was disastrous for international trade.

An exhibition-debate on the necropolis of Tanis and the results of the study will take place on July 20, hosted by Ben-Dor Evian and Ben-Yosef.


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