The head of the unknown ancient Egyptian pharaoh found at Hazor in Israel.

Why Was This Sculpture of a Forgotten Pharaoh First Transported to Israel and Ultimately Smashed?

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That discovery also added to previous Egyptian statue finds at Hazor, as Bostrom reported :

 “In the course of close to 30 years of excavation, fragments of 18 different Egyptian statues, both royal and private, dedicated to Egyptian kings and officials, including two sphinxes, were discovered at Hazor. Most of these statues were found in layers dated to the Late Bronze Age (15th-13th centuries B.C.E.) – corresponding to the New Kingdom in Egypt.”

Bostrom suggests that the statues may have been sent to the king of Hazor as official gifts (the ruler of the area was rather important at the time) or they were meant to be dedications to a local temple. Perhaps the pharaoh’s sculpture found in 1995 was sent to Hazor for one of these reasons.

Regarding the nature of the destruction of the artifact, Laboury and Connor wrote in their report:

“Interestingly, no other part of the statuette to which it had originally belonged was recovered at the site. The cracks indicate that the nose had been broken and the head detached from the rest of the sculpture before being shattered.”

The cracks in the sculpture of the pharaoh’s head are apparent in these photos.

The cracks in the sculpture of the pharaoh’s head are apparent in these photos. ( Gaby Laron / Hebrew University / Selz Foundation Hazor Excavations in memory of Yigael Yadin )

The Live Science article mentions that Hazor was conquered and destroyed in the mid-13th century BC. John Black explained the extent of the destruction of the city for Ancient Origins:

“The archaeological evidence has shown that a violent fire destroyed the palace in about the 13th century BC. The fire was so intense with temperatures going up two times more than the temperatures of a normal fire - up to a stunning 1,300 degrees Celsius. It completely melted clay vessels and the mud bricks that the walls were made of […] After the destruction, the city remained uninhabited for about 200 years.”

Archaeological ruins at Hazor, Israel.

Archaeological ruins at Hazor, Israel. ( CC BY SA 2.0 )

The pharaoh’s sculpture may have been deliberately broken at that time as part of a common practice to mutilate or destroy the statues of kings and dignitaries found during the conquering of towns. This deliberate destruction is a well-known practice from ancient times which has unfortunately continued until today.

Top Image: The head of the unknown ancient Egyptian pharaoh found at Hazor in Israel. ( Gaby Laron/Hebrew University/Selz Foundation Hazor Excavations in memory of Yigael Yadin ) Background: Detail of the limestone false-door and architrave of Ptahshepses - 5th Dynasty - British Museum. ( Public Domain )

By Alicia McDermott

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