Mysterious Egyptian Artifact From the Bronze Age Found Off Israeli Coast
When Rafi Bahalul found hieroglyphs in the seabed, he took a morning dive off the coast of Atlit, Israel.
Bahalul told Haaretz “I have seen that continued swimming for a couple of meters and then realized what I had seen and dived down to touch it, “It was like entering an Egyptian temple at the bottom of the Mediterranean.”
The Egyptian Stone anchor was discovered by Bahalul about 3,500 years old, confirmed by Jacob Sharvit, Head of Maritime Archeology Units of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
The anchor is currently on loan from the Israel Antiquities Authority to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and is on display as part of its Emoglyphs: Picture-Writing from Hieroglyphs to the Emoji exhibition.
Emoglyphs is the study of the transformation of picture writing from Egyptian hieroglyphs, developed some 5,000 years ago, to the ’emojis’ of the 21st Century.
Shirly Ben-Dor Evian, the curator of Emoglyphs, said the stone would have initially been part of a larger, ornate wall relief. Repurposed as an anchor, it was cut from the relief and drilled with a hole to attach a rope.
“The stone was discovered by chance — spotted on the seabed by a swimmer,” Ben-Dor Evian told ABC News and said the relic is still being researched. “The Egyptian relief was reused as a stone anchor on a ship sailing the Mediterranean coast,” she said.
Addressing the mystery of how the Egyptian relic was found off the coast of Israel, Ben-Dor Evian proposed that it was separated from an Egyptian ship sailing the Mediterranean coast, perhaps lost in a shipwreck.
“The ship crew must have lost the anchor or the ship was shipwrecked,” she said, adding that whether or not the anchor can contribute to a new understanding of ancient Egyptian life is “still under research.”
The site where Bahalul made the chance discovery, just south of Haifa, was already known to archaeologists, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Depicted on the stone are the hands of Seshat, the Goddess of Writing, Ben-Dor Evian said. An accompanying inscription reads, “mistress of the house of books.”
Emoglyphs will be showing until October 12th.