A 3,300-year-old coffin was uncovered during excavations by the Israel Antiquities Authority near Kibbutz Sarid in the Jezreel Valley.
An adult skeleton was inside the coffin, buried with a bronze dagger, a bronze bowl, and other trinkets. The graves of two men and two women who may have been family members were found nearby.
“Since the vessels interred with the individual were produced locally, we assume the deceased was an official of Canaanite origin who was engaged in the service of the Egyptian government,” researchers said.
A rare gold Egyptian scarab seal on a ring was found next to the skeleton. The seal bore the name of Pharaoh Seti I, who ruled Egypt in the 13th century BCE.
Seti I was the father of Ramses II, believed by some scholars to be the pharaoh depicted in the Passover story of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt.
Another possibility was that the coffin belonged to a wealthy individual who chose to imitate Egyptian burial customs, the IAA said.
This was the first casket of this sort to be found in Israel in the last 50 years, according to the archaeologists.
The discovery of the coffin serves as evidence of Egyptian control of the area in the Late Bronze Age, according to the IAA.
During this time pharaohs ruled the country and Egyptian culture had a great influence on the local Canaanite elite. Signs of ancient Egyptian influence are occasionally discovered in different regions of modern-day Israel, the IAA said.
The coffin was found during preparations for the installation of a natural gas pipeline by the Israel Natural Gas Lines Company, which also financed the excavation.
View original Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/National-News/3300-year-old-Egyptian-coffin-found-in-Jezreel-Valley-347980