[b-hebrew] Qestion on 18th Dynasty Egypt (Marianne Luban)

Walter R. Mattfeld mattfeld12 at charter.net
Fri Nov 19 18:12:22 EST 2004

Marianne Luban wrote:

> Everyone has a right to his theories, of course.  That is understood.  But
> the fact is that the ancient historians all knew about Ramesses II.  They
> could
> hardly help it.  He is still the most visible king in Egypt even today.
> But
> not a single one of them ever suggested he may have presided over an
> exodus.

Walter replies:

You seem to have forgotten that Manetho mentions an Exodus under Amenophis
and son RAMESES.
As to whether Manetho's Rameses is Rameses II is a contentious issue.


> Well, you are very much interested in the archaeological evidence.
> Certainly, there is scant archaeological evidence to support an
> exodus--yet it is known
> that groups of people came *into* Egypt and even conquered her.  But where
> is
> the archaeological evidence of those "entrances"?  By that I mean, people
> bring stuff with them when they come in--not just when going out.  These
> groups
> didn't fly in on magic carpets, some of them being entire armies.  But
> people
> continue to bemoan why there is nothing left of the people "exodus"--as
> though
> the roads into and out of Egypt hadn't been a revolving door for centuries
> even before the Common Era.  Where are the houses, the pottery?

Walter replies:

I am "surprised" by your argument, that there is no evidence for a large
number of people coming into and leaving Egypt in the archaeological record.
Had you read the archaeological reports on what has been found in Egypt and
the Sinai, would know that such an argument is untenable. Trade goods from
the Negev appear in Egypt in the Early Bronze Age and Egyptian items appear
in the Negev in the same period. Along the "way of Horus" the biblical "way
of the Philistines" archaeologists have found pottery and campsites
witnessing these goods moving into and out of Egypt and the Negev. They have
even found "overnight" campsites along this route.

As regards the arrival of the Hyksos in Egypt, there is archaeological
evidence showing a sudden rise in Tel el Yehudiyeh wares accompanying the
Hyksos from locations in the southern Canaan as well as ports along the
Mediterranean littoral. Egyptian goods are also found in these faraway
locations. The "absence" of the Tell el Yehudiyah wares -which appear in
large quantity in Egypt- along the way of Horus has led scholars to suggest
that these wares were imported into Egypt via ships (maritime trade).
Stratigraphically the rise in Tel el Yehudiyeh wares can be plotted at
Avaris (Tell ed Daba) as the city swells and expands with more and more
arrivals of Asiatics into Egypt, who build more and more houses and temples
initially on Asiatic models. So it is untenable to argue that there is "no
evidence for the arrival or departure from Egypt" of _large_ groups (and the
Exodus according to the Bible as of a "large" group). When the Hyksos were
expelled from Avaris, the Tell el Yehudiyeh wares came to an end and the
site was abandoned until the founding of Pi-Ramesses in the 19th dynasty
under Ramesses II. How do we know this ? They found Ramesside wares in
Avaris, marking the entry into a site which had been abandoned since the
Hyksos expulsion.

 >Tents are not
> houses and some people don't even a "ware"--that is a specific type of
> pottery.
> Water can be carried in skins and dishes can be wooden ones, too, or of
> metal.  Nomads don't make pottery.

Walter replies:

Had you read the archaeological reports for the Sinai you wouldn't be making
the above statement. Pottery debris left by nomads, herders of sheep and
goats, are documented for the Stone Age, Early Bronze, and Middle Bronze.
Their campsites have been found with "pottery scatters", sometimes remains
of temporary stone huts and corrals for the animals have been found.
Charcoal remains of ancient campfires have also been found. Yet NO LATE
BRONZE AGE or IRON I has been found in the Sinai, with the _exception_ of
the Egyptian-run mining camps at Serabit el Khadim and vicinity.

As regards Mount Sinai, although there are over a dozen proposals for its
location none have been accepted because the Late Bronze Age (1560-1200 BCE)
or Iron IA (1220-1150 BCE) pottery remains don't exist to document the site
being proposed. I am UNAWARE of ANY archaeological debris in the vicinity of
Gebel Musa or Ras Safsafa, or Gebel Katharina, or the plain of er-Raha
(where Israel suppossedly camped) that is datable to the "Before Christ"
era. The earliest debris in this area is Late Roman thorugh Byzantine
(4th-9th century BCE). The "nearest debris of the BCE era is some 4 miles
away, ENE of the St. Catherine's monastery at Sheikh Nabi Saleh in wadi esh
Sheikh, a headwater of Wadi Feiran. The site has been excavated by
Beit-Arieh and it is an Early Bronze encampment with stone huts and corrals.
He has found remains of campfires, and copper workings as they were miners
from the Negev (their pottery is from Negev clays) exploiting the copper
mines of Wadi Reqeita. WNW of er Raha is another BCE site, Sheikh Awad by
Nagb Hawah, it too has been excavated and it is Early Bronze II, with huts
and corrals.

Many scholars understand the sudden appearace of villages of stone in Iron
IA (1220-1150 BCE) Canaan'sHigh Lands and Negev as well as Transjordan are
Israel settling the land under Joshua. Excavations reveal that these
settlers cooked their meals in earthenware cooking pots. Earthenware cooking
pots are documented for the Sinai in the Stone Age, Early Bronze, Middle
Bronze but NOT the Late Bronze or Iron I with the exception of the
Egyptian-run mining camps of Serabit el Khadim.

If ANYONE has knowledge of archaeological debris of the "BCE period" from
the vicinity of the plain er Raha and Gebels Musa, 'Arribeh, Ras Safsfa and
Katharina, I would be _most appreciative_ of recieving said data to update
my files on  the Exodus and the archaeological evidence for it.

Professor Beno Rothenberg has suggested that the crude handmade Negebite
ware is misdated 10th century BCE and that it is Ramesside as he found it in
contexts with Ramesside cartouches at the Egyptian mining camp at Har Timna
in the Arabah. If he's right, then the Negev was occupied by nomads in the
Ramesside era, the 13th-12th centuries BCE.

Regards, Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.

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