3000 year old scarab from Israel: covered with blue-green glaze
Photo: handout / dpa
A more than 3,000-year-old scarab beetle was found on a school trip near the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv.
"We were wandering around when I saw what appeared to be a small toy on the ground," said Gilad Stern of the Israel Antiquities Authority on Wednesday, who is leading the school trip to Azor.
When he picked up the beetle stone, he was amazed.
"It was a scarab with a scene clearly carved."
The 8th graders were very excited.
A scarab is a type of amulet in the shape of the pillworm beetle (Scarabaeus sacer) that originated in ancient Egypt.
The beetle stone was once a seal, later it turned into a protection and lucky charm.
Symbol of power and status
According to the Antiquities Authority, the find dates from the Bronze Age and is coated with a blue-green glaze.
Accordingly, it was "a symbol of power and status" and could have been worn on a necklace or a ring.
The scene depicted on the scarab probably represents the granting of legitimacy to a local ruler.
Sacred pill worms, the exact name of the beetles that inspired the amulets, are widespread.
They occur in almost all of Africa, in parts of South America, in Asia Minor and in the Mediterranean area and inhabit semi-deserts, savannas and steppe areas.
In ancient Egypt, they were considered a symbol of resurrection and the cycle of the sun.
Their activity of rolling dung balls is related to the Egyptian sun god Re, the creator of all existence and the most important ancient Egyptian god.
The idea: If you observe a pillworm beetle on the horizon, its movements are reminiscent of Re's journey across the sky in the sun barque.
In the evening, according to the story, Re switches to the night barge to travel through the realm of the dead and to be reborn at the next sunrise.
Not only scarab amulets are considered lucky charms, this property is also said to be found in beetles.
They are also called lucky beetles.