Archaeologists have unearthed a rare tomb in Israel with an Egyptian ceramic sarcophagus. Inside, the body of a man who died about 3300 years ago along with a gold scarab with the name of Seti I, the father of Ramses II — the pharaoh that enslaved Moses and the Jews according to the Bible myth. But the buried man was not Egyptian.
The man is a Canaanite, a polytheistic tribe who lived in what’s now modern Israel. The Canaanites were important during this period because their territory was at the intersection of the Egyptian, Hittite and Assyrian Empires.
The tomb — which was first found by natural gas pipeline workers in Jezreel Valley, south of the Lower Galilee region, 15km southwest of Nazareth — doesn’t correspond to the usual Canaanite burial rituals, according to Dr Ron Be’eri, of the Israeli Archeological Authority.
Canaanites… were not accustomed to burying themselves in coffins of this sort. The Canaanite style of burial is different. Completeness of the body is a basic thing in Egyptian burial, and that’s because [they believed] the soul of the dead… is meant to leave the body after death.
But the man was indeed a Canaanite, probably a high ranking official during the time of Seti I, a pharaoh who reconquered Canaan up to the south of the Sea of Galilee.