Excavations Yield Egyptian Past

An Egyptian military government house dating back to the 14th Century BCE has been uncovered at the Tel Aphek excavations at the source of the Yarkon River just northeast of Petach Tikva. The building was uncovered by a team headed by Dr. Mordechai Kochavi of Tel Aviv University and included 140 students from Allegheny College in Pennsylvania under the supervision of Prof. Don Hobson.

An even more important finding was a five-centimeter tablet with a bird within a circle engraved on it. The tablet carries two of the five names of Amenhotep, an Egyptian Pharaoh. This kind of tablet was used by the ancient Egyptians to decorate cornerstones of large buildings.

The government building itself is two stories and apparently housed the Egyptian governor and served as a garrison for his troops. It lies on the Via Paris, the ancient road to the Mediterranean from the Judaean Hills. The Egyptian reign at Tel Aphek ended in the 12th Century BCE when a fire destroyed the building. This coincides with Joshua’s conquest of Canaan, although there is no evidence that Joshua was responsible for the fire.

There are various strata indicating the change of population in the area–Philistines and Judaeans–and a wall built by the Hashmanians. The last one to rebuild on the site was Herod whose fortress was uncovered two years ago.

NEXT STORY