The Jerusalem Post

‘Late Bronze Age collapse didn’t disrupt int’l commerce’


Newly discovered 3,000-year-old bronze figurines recently unearthed in Tanis, Egypt, can answer questions about internatio­nal commerce in ancient Egypt, a research team has declared.

The study, which was recently published in the Journal of Archaeolog­ical Science: Reports, was led by Dr. Shirly Ben-Dor Evian, Israel Museum curator of Egyptian archaeolog­y, and Prof. Erez Ben-Yosef from Tel Aviv University.

The four figurines date back to a period after the collapse of major civilizati­ons, when the 21st dynasty of Egypt ruled in the Lower Egypt city of Tanis – a fraction of the size of the empire of their ancestors. This was a time of internal strife in Egypt, and there is no textual account of the time, so when their tombs were discovered 80 years ago, researcher­s were confused about why they included so many imported items.

The bronze figurines were important to the study because gold cannot be traced back to its source, but the copper in bronze can.

The research team took minute samples from the figurines and discovered the Egyptian pharaohs imported them from the southern regions of today’s Israel and Jordan, showing that despite the internal strife, Egypt continued to be significan­t in the region.

As well as providing knowledge of the Timna (Israel) and Faynan (Jordan) copper mines, this discovery shed light on the relation between Egypt, biblical Israel and Edom, which contribute­d to Egypt’s prosperity, even at a time of instabilit­y, disproving the assumption that the Late Bronze Age collapse was disastrous for internatio­nal commerce.

An exposition and discussion on the Tanis necropolis and the findings of the study will be held on July 20, hosted by Ben-Dor Evian and Ben-Yosef.

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