Baruch Brandl
The subject of this discussion is a scarab found during the
1981 season in LI022 (phase 9) in Area AO at Tel Dor (Fig.
9 .I). In this study we present all the technical details, including drawings and photographs, but we will not deal with the
typology of the scarab itself (i.e., the back and sides), since
existing typologies are not sufficiently detailed. An attempt
has been made to list most of the excavated parallels as a
basis for future studies.
Reg. No.: 10144. IAA No.: 94-1775.
Material: steatite, traces of green glaze all over.
Dimensions: L 16.5 mm., W 13 mm., H 8 mm.
Method of manufacture: carving, drilling, incising, and
Workmanship: good.
Technical details: perforated, drilled from both sides.
Preservation: broken - the left side of the base and the
clypeus are missing.
Inside a vertical oval frame on the base is a group of seven
Egyptian signs. Althpugh only a few of these signs are real
hieroglyphs, they may form an inscription.
The upper three signs should be 'read' as one symbol a solar barque. This symbol was used on scarabs as early as
the Second Intermediate Period (Giveon 1988: 82-83, Pl.
7:93) and in the New Kingdom (Starkey and Lankester
Harding 1932: Pl. 57:338 ~ Rowe 1936: 186, Pl. 20:779;
Rowe 1936: 199, Pl. 21:845).
Previously such barques were generally attributed to the
sun-godR' (Grenfell1910: 124, Pl. 2:90; Grenfell1915: 86,
Pl. 2:47; Flinders Petrie 1925: 20, para. 37, Pl. 12:645-52),
who was believed to travel on two barques- in daytime on
the m'ndt and at night on the msktt (Kitchen 1973: 619).
Curre~tly, the preferred candidate is the sun-god Imn-R'
(Hall 1913: 141, Nos. 1440-43; Hornung and Staehelin
1976: 253-54, No. 314; 334, No. 724; 335-36, Nos. 731-33;
Matouk 1977: 30, 373, Nos. lie, !If). Those who favor the
idea of cryptogram writing not only identify the barque as
belonging to Imn-R'. but even 'read' these three signs as
'Barque of R',' Im(w) n R', which leads naturally to the name
Imn-R' (Drioton 1960: 89-90; Hornung and Staehelin
1976: 174, 334, No. 726; Schlick-Nolte and von Droste zu
Hulshoff 1990: 113-15, Kat.-Nr. 70).
The fourth sign, ripple of water, could be identified as the
hieroglyph n (Gardiner 1973: 490, Sign-list N 35), but alternatively could be a snake, since its left edge seems to end
horizontally. In the latter case it should be understood as a
determinative (Gardiner 1973: 476, Sign-list I 14 or 15). It
seems to me that this sign is indeed the hieroglyph n (cf.
Matthiae Scandone 1975: 30, Pl. 5:B7), and as such could
serve as the phonetic complement of the name Imn.
The fifth sign could be identified as a horizontal branch
of palm (Matouk 1977: I 01, 384, No. 549), or alternatively
another form of the hieroglyph n (Rowe 1936: 89, Pl. 9:354;
147, Pl. 16:613; Matouk 1977: 217-18, 411-12, Nos.
2388-93). Such a sign also appears on other scarabs that are
connected with the name of Imn (Flinders Petrie 1906: 15,
Pl. 11:220 =Flinders Petrie 1925: Pl. 19:1556; Loud 1948:
Pl. 149:1; Giveon 1988: 60, No. 62).
The sixth sign, a horizontal feather, could be identified as
the air-god Sw, the word m3't, 'truth' (Gardiner 1973: 474,
Sign-list H 6), or the name of the truth-goddess.
The seventh sign, a wickerwork basket, is the word nb,
whose meaning is 'all' or 'lord' (Gardiner 1973: 525, Signlist V 30).
A possible reading could thus be lmn-R" nb m3'.-t,
'Amun-Ra, lord of truth.'
The scarab is attributed to the group of scarabs with phrases
that are 'mottoes' or 'good wishes' (Newberry 1906: 78, Pis.
The scarab may be dated to the 26th (Saite) Egyptian
Dynasty on the basis of two factors, its typology and its writing system. 'Phrase' scarabs are very common during the
26th Dynasty. Writing in a perpendicular direction is com
monon scarabs of the 26th Dynasty (Grenfell1910: 129, PI
3: 118; Barrois 1927: 263, Fig. 3:B; Carriere and Barroi:
1927: 138, Fig. 6:2; Culican 1972: 118, Fig. A, center o
upper row; Hornung and Staehelin 197 6: 230-31, Nos. 20 I
The scarab under discussion was found in a phase generali)
attributed by the excavators to the period postdating the
Assyrian conquest, more specifically between 720 and
650/630 BCE. Since the scarab is dated to the 26th (Saite)
Egyptian Dynasty, which ruled between 664 and 525 BCE,
there is a strong possibility that it was found in its primary
archaeological context, thereby contributing to the dating of
the end of the phase. However, since the material of phase
9 is not in situ, the scarab could belong to the next phase as
I would like to thank Prof. E. Stern and Mrs. A. Gilboa for
their invitation to publish this find, and to Mr. T. Schneider
for editing the manuscript. The photographs were taken by
Mr. I. Sztulmann, and the drawings were made by Miss S.
Halbreich under my guidance.
Barrois 1927
Carriere and
Barrois 1927
A. Barrois, Chronique II: Fouilles a Neirab,
septembre-novembre 1926, Revue Biblique
36: 257-65.
B. Carriere and A. Barrois, Fouilles de
Jerusalem effectuees a Neirab du 24
septembre au 5 novembre 1926, Syria 8:
Culican 1972
W. Culican, Phoenician Remains from
Drioton 1960
Gibraltar, Australian Journal of Biblical
Archaeology 2: 110-45.
E. Drioton, La valeur cryptographique du
Hall 1913
Hornung and
Staehelin 1976
Kitchen 1973
Loud 1948
Matouk 1977
signe representant la barque solaire avec le
disque, Revue d'Egyptologie 12: 89-90.
Flinders Petrie 1906 W.M. Flinders Petrie, Hyksos and Israelite
Matthiae Scandone
Cities, London.
Flinders Petrie !925 W.M. Flinders Petrie, Buttons and Design
Scarabs, London.
Gardiner 1973
A. Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar (3rd ed.
Giveon 1988
Grenfell !910
Grenfell 1915
revised), London.
R. Giveon, Scarabs from Recent Excavations in Israel (Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis
83), Freiburg Schweiz.
A. Grenfell, The Rarer Scarabs, etc., of the
New Kingdom, Recueil de Travaux Relatift
a Ia Philo/ogie eta l'Archeologie Egyptiennes
et Assyriennes 32: 113-36.
A. Grenfell, The Ka on Scarabs, Recuei/ de
Travaux Relatifs a Ia Philoiogie et a
l'Archeologie Egyptiennes et Assyriennes 37:
Newberry I 906
H.R. Hall, Catalogue of Egyptian Scarabs,
etc.. in the British Museum Vol. I. Royal
Scarabs, London.
E. Hornung and E. Staehelin, Skarabaen
und andere Siegelamulette aus Basler
Sammlungen (Agyptische Denkmaler in der
Schweiz I), Mainz.
K.A. Kitchen, Barke, Lexikon der
A.gyptologie 1: 619-25, Wiesbaden.
G. Loud, Megiddo II: Seasons of 1935-39,
F.S. Matouk, Corpus du scarabee egyptien. II:
analyse thtmatique, Beirut.
G. Matthiae Scandone, Scarabei e
scaraboidi egioziani ed egittizzanti del Museo
Naziona!e di Cagliari, Roma.
P.E. Newberry, Scarabs: An Introduction to
the Study ofEgyptian Seals and Signet Rings,
Rowe 1936
and von Droste
zu Hulshoff 1990
Starkey and
Lankester Harding
A. Rowe, A Catalogue of Egyptian Scarabs,
Scaraboids, Seals and Amulets in the Palestine Archaeological Museum, Cairo.
B. Schlick-Nolte and V. von Droste zu
Plastik, Frankfurt am Main, Agyptische
Bildwerke, Band 1), Melsungen.
J.L. Starkey and Lankester Harding,
Beth-Pelet Cemetery, in: E. Macdonald, J.L.
Starkey, and Lankester Harding, Beth-Pe/et
II, London.