A recent report from The Temple Mount Sifting Project has revealed that, four years ago, Neshama Spielman stumbled upon an ancient Egyptian artefact. The amulet bears the name of the Egyptian ruler Thutmose III, Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty who reigned from 1479 – 1425 BCE.
Spielman, from Jerusalem, was on a family holiday that included helping with the sifting project, when she made the historical discovery.
“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 told The Temple Mount Sifting Project. “It’s amazing to find something thousands of years old from ancient Egypt all the way here in Jerusalem!”
The Temple Mount Sifting Project was started by archaeologists Dr Gabriel Barkly and Zach Dvira via the Bar-llan University in 2004 on the western slopes of Mt. Scopus at Emek Tzurim National Park.
“The Temple Mount Sifting Project was established with the purpose of sifting all the debris removed from the Temple Mount and to try and retrieve as many artefacts as possible, using the wet-sifting technique," they write on the website dedicated to this project.
"Most of the finds can be identified and dated by matching them to parallel finds found in a clear context elsewhere. This comparative methodology is widely used in archaeological surveys studying sites only by collecting artefacts from the topsoil.”
Whilst impressive in age, the amulet holds a lot of historical significance.
“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,” says Barkay.
“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.”
Since 2004, more than 170,000 volunteers have participated in the project and it can take years to determine exactly when and where a discovered item is from.
So next time you see a trinket on the ground, maybe it’s a good idea to pick it up? You never know.
Check out more information about the discovery and The Temple Mount Sifting Project here.