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History of Egypt From 330 B.C. To the Present Time

The Puntites appear with their aquiline features


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by this site was discovered the abundant remains of a hitherto unknown race. This race has nothing in common with the true Egyptians, although their relics are invariably found with those of the Egyptians of the fourth, twelfth, eighteenth, and nineteenth dynasties. Petrie declares these men to have been tall and powerful, with strong features, a hooked nose, a long, pointed beard, and brown, wavy hair. They were not related to the negroes, but rather to the Amorites or Libyans. The bodies in these tombs are not mummified, but are contracted, though laid in an opposite direction from those discovered at Medum. The graves are open, square pits, roofed over with beams of wood. This ancient race used forked hunting-lances for chasing the gazelle, and their beautiful flints were found to be like those belonging to an excellent collection already existing in the Ashmolean Museum of Oxford. They also made an abundant use of copper for adzes, harpoons for spearing fish, and needles for sewing garments. They used pottery abundantly, and its variety is remarkable no less than the quality, which, unlike the Egyptian, was all hand-made and never fashioned by aid of the wheel. They entered Egypt about 3,000 B.C., and were probably of the white Libyan race, and possibly may have been the foreigners who overthrew the old Egyptian empire.

The discovery of the name of "Israel" in an Egyptian inscription was in a sense, perhaps, the most remarkable event of the

year 1895 in archaeology. It was first laid before the public by Professor Petrie,* and was treated by Spiegelberg** in a communication to the Berlin Academy, and by Steindorff.***

* Contemporary Review, May 1896.

** Sitzberichte, xxv., p. 593. 3.

*** Zeitschrift fur deutsch. Alt. test. Wiss., 1896, p. 330.

The name occurs in an inscription dated in the fifth year of Merenptah, the successor of Ramses II., and often supposed to be the Pharaoh of the Exodus. It is there written with the determinative of a people, not of a city or country, and reads in our conventional transliteration _Ysiraar_, but in reality agrees very closely to the Hebrew [...] the last portion _aar_ being recognised as the equivalent of _el_ in several words. Merenptah states that "Israel is fekt (?) without seed (grain or offspring), Syria (Kharu) has become widows (Kharut) of or to Egypt." We can form no conclusion from these statements as to the relation in which the Israelites stood to Pharaoh and to Egypt, except that they are represented as having been powerless. It is pretty clear, however, from the context that they were then in Palestine, or at least in Syria. Steindorff suggests that they may have entered Syria from Chaldaea during the disturbed times in Egypt at the end of the eighteenth dynasty, and connects them with the movements of the Khabiri (Hebrews?) mentioned in the Tel-el-Amarna tablets. On the other hand, it is of course possible, as Professor Petrie points out, that this reference to the Israelites may have some connection with the Exodus itself. M. Clermont Ganneau thinks that the localities mentioned are all in Southern Palestine.*

* Revue Archeologique, xxix., p. 127.

M. Edouard Naville found at Thebes many remains of the Punt sculptures. The Puntites appear with their aquiline features, their pointed beards, and their long hair; negroes also of black and brown varieties are represented adjoining the Puntites proper. There are wickerwork huts, and a figure of a large white dog with its ears hanging down. Long-billed birds also appear flying about in the trees. Their nests have been forsaken and robbed, and the men are represented as gathering incense from the trees. Altogether, much invaluable information has been gathered concerning the famous people who lived in the Land of Punt, and with whom for a long period the Egyptians held intercommunication. Other discoveries were made near the great temple of Karnak, and the buildings of Medinet-Habu were cleared of rubbish in order to show their true proportions.


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