A school field trip to Azor, a site about seven kilometers southeast of Tel Aviv, ended up like an adventure movie. The students discovered a 3,000-year-old scarab beetle, an ancient amulet and an impression seal, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced.
Rabin High School's eighth grade class participated in the third annual tour guide course, which allows students to teach Azor residents about archaeological finds.
"We were walking around the park when I saw something that looked like a small toy on the ground," tour guide Gilad Stern said. “An inner voice told me: 'Pick it up and turn it around.' I was amazed: it was a beetle with a clearly incised scene, the dream of every amateur archaeologist. The students were very excited!" he added.
Carved into the flatter side of the scarab is a standing figure that has an elongated head and appears to represent the crown of the Egyptian pharaoh. "This scene basically reflects the geopolitical reality that prevailed in the land of Canaan during the Late Bronze Age (between 1500 and 1000 B.C.), when local Canaanite rulers lived (and sometimes rebelled) under Egyptian political and cultural hegemony. "Doctor Amir Golani tells The Jerusalem Post.
The beetles are clearly Egyptian, but hundreds have been discovered in Israel over time. Some were imported, while others (like the one found now) were imitations of the originals made by local craftsmen under Egyptian influence.
The ancient Egyptians believed that dung beetles were a representation of God because of the way they roll balls of dung twice their size to store their future offspring.
"The scarab was used as a seal and was a symbol of power and status," Golani said. "It may have been set on a necklace or a ring and is made of faience, a silicate material coated with a bluish-green glaze.