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Beyond the Empire: Egyptian Connections with Jordan in the First Millennium BC.

Jonathan Tubb (Keeper of Middle East, British Museum) A joint lecture with the EES.

(Image copyright The British Museum).

During the 13th century BC, perhaps in the reign of Ramses II, Tell es-Sa’idiyeh, ancient Zarethan, in the central Jordan Valley, was taken into Egyptian control as part of its Asiatic Empire, and the site was further developed by the pharaohs of the 20th Dynasty in the 12th century when it became a major trade and taxation centre. A remarkable series of public buildings has been uncovered including a palace complex, a large residency and part of the main eastern gate - all built using Egyptian construction methods - and an Aegean-style water system. The lower tell was used as a cemetery, and a large number of graves has been excavated, many of which show strongly Egyptian characteristics, both in terms of the grave goods and also the burial practices. Following the dissolution of the Egyptian Empire in the 12th century BC, the site reverted to local control, but there is sufficient evidence to suggest that an Egyptian ‘legacy’ remained. This lecture considers two manifestations of this legacy, the first, in the 9th century BC, when the site was extensively settled again and a small temple was constructed which demonstrates an intriguing Egyptian connection. The second occurred during the Babylonian and early Persian periods of the 6th century BC when, after a gap of some 500-600 years, strongly Egyptianizing features in both the material culture and the burial customsre-appeared at the site.

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