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The Discoveries at Avaris

February 4, 2018

For more than two centuries archaeologists have sought evidence for the Israelites in Egypt. No Israelite settlement has ever been found in the 19th Dynasty where the Orthodox Chronology predicted it would be. 


I told you in last month’s Nugget about the Austrian team of archaeologists, led by Manfred Bietak, who have been excavating at Tel ed-Daba since 1960, more commonly called Avaris in ancient times.  Bietak and his team have made many astounding discoveries. 


Manfred Bietak (Austrian) and his team have found evidence of a long period of Asiatic settlement in Avaris. Between Stratum G/1 and F there is a definite break between two distinct phases of settlement. Both Rohl and Bietak believe this line of demarcation between Stratum G/1 and F at Tel ed-Daba likely marks the break that resulted from the biblical exodus of the Israelites from Tell ed-Daba. Around Goshen in the Second Intermediate Period there is incontrovertible evidence for a large Asiatic population. In just the time frame and place where the New Chronology predicts the Israelite sojourn in Egypt would be.


The majority of the tombs in the earlier strata are of Asiatic people from Palestine and Syria. Bietak says the early Asiatics were heavily Egyptianized. These people have spent considerable time in Egypt and have taken on many of the cultural practices of the Egyptians themselves. Under the New Chronology these people have to be Israelites.  The fit for the time period perfectly matches the other indications that this indeed is the correct time period for the Exodus. These earlier Asiatics are more likely to be Joseph’s relatives. The later Asiatics were very different and were not  Egyptianized at all and appear to be of Hyksos descent.  


In the Brooklyn Papyrus there is a list of 95 names of slaves, over 50% of which are Semitic names. There are several Biblical names in the list, e.g. Menahem, Issachar, Asher and Shiphrah. The term Apiru (the equivalent of Hebrew) appears first in the Brooklyn Papyrus.  William Albright recognized the language belongs to the northwest Semitic language family which includes Biblical Hebrew.  There is a high proportion of female slaves. More adult women are buried here than men. 65% of all burials are children under the age of 18 months with girls out numbering boys by a ratio of 3:1. This could be explained by the massacre of Israelite boys whose bodies were then disposed of in mass unmarked burial pits.


All over the city of Avaris are shallow burial pits with multiple victims hurriedly thrown. There were no careful interments as was required under Egyptian customs. The bodies were thrown one on top of another in mass graves. There is no evidence of grave goods being placed with the corpses as was the Egyptian custom.  Bietak is convinced this is direct evidence of a plague or catastrophe. The large part of the remaining population abandoned their homes and left en masse. Bietak says the site was then reoccupied after an unknown interval of time by Asiatics who were not Egyptianised. Hence the break between stratum G/1 and F.  There is a strange anomaly where the Asiatic folk who inhabited Stratum F lived in poor conditions yet their graves were richly endowed with precious metals and jewellery .


The sources are unconnected and yet intriguingly consistent. Putting all the pieces together one can build up a consistent story which supports the Biblical account. The break in archeological stratum between G/1 and F marks the intervening years following the exodus of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt. The repopulation of Avaris sometime afterward by the Hyksos people who moved into Egypt matches the beginning of the Second Intermediate Period of the Egyptian Pharoahs. They were Asiatic people from the same region as the Israelites but not Egyptianized as Joseph and his family had been.  


The facts fit the period before the Exodus well. Given the disruption at the time of plagues and the magnitude of the deaths which occurred there would have been no time to bury the dead according to Egyptian customs. The predominance of females, especially among children would have been a result of the deliberate murder of the male children by the Pharoah. Where did such poor people (slaves no less) get such riches? Simple: read Ex 11:2 which says, “Tell all the Israelite men and women to ask their Egyptian neighbours for articles of silver and gold.”  


There are even more amazing discoveries to come. See you next month. 


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