Not far from Jerusalem's holiest sites, a 12-year-old Israeli girl discovered what's believed to be an Egyptian amulet that dates back more than 3,200 years.
Neshama Spielman and her family were taking part in the Temple Mount Sifting Project, a long-standing initiative under which volunteers and archaeologists sort through tons of ancient soil that was removed from the contested biblical site in 1999. She found in her pile a small pendant inscribed with Egyptian hieroglyphics bearing the name of Thutmose III, a pharaoh who is considered one of ancient Egypt's greatest rulers.
"While I was sifting, I came across a piece of pottery that was different from others I had seen, and I immediately thought that maybe I had found something special," Spielman is quoted as saying in a news release published on the project's blog. "It’s amazing to find something thousands of years old from ancient Egypt all the way here in Jerusalem! Celebrating Passover this year is going to be extra meaningful to me." (The Jewish holiday will be marked this coming weekend.)
The project's blog details the historical circumstances under which this part of the Levant fell under Egyptian control:
Thutmose III was one of the most important pharaohs in Egypt’s New Kingdom and is credited with establishing the Egyptian imperial province in Canaan, conducting 17 military campaigns to Canaan and Syria and defeating a coalition of Canaanite kings at the city of Megiddo in 1457 BCE,” stated Dr. Gabriel Barkay, the co-founder and director of the Temple Mount Sifting Project. “Thutmose III referred to himself as ‘the one who has subdued a thousand cities,’ and it is known that for more than 300 years, during the Late Bronze Age, Canaan and the city state of Jerusalem were under Egyptian dominion, likely explaining the presence of this amulet in Jerusalem.”
This is not the first time that a child has uncovered an artifact through the project. Last year, a 10-year-old Russian boy found a 3,000-year-old seal dating to the era of King David.
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