In 2011, eight-year-old Neshama Spielman discovered a rare ancient Egyptian amulet, while working at the Temple Mount Sifting Project in Jerusalem. Recently, archaeologists finally deciphered its intricate inscriptions. The Egyptian hieroglyphics revealed the name of Thutmose III, one of the most powerful pharaohs in Egypt’s history.

Thutmose III was one of the most powerful pharaohs of the New Kingdom’s 18th Dynasty, who according to conventional chronology ruled Egypt from 1479-1425 BC. Click here for an overview of the Wall of Time.

The little amulet was found amongst the rubble at the Temple Mount Sifting Project. This organization headed by archaeologists Dr. Gabriel Barkay and Zachi Dvira, was begun in Jerusalem to sift through the massive amounts of debris that were illegally removed from the Temple Mount by the Islamic Waqf in 1999. Concerned that artifacts going back as far as Jerusalem’s First and Second Temple periods would be lost forever, the project uses thousands of volunteers to work countless hours washing and sorting the material in hopes of recovering some of the ancient past.
Since the inception of the Temple Mount Sifting Project in 2004, over 170,000 people from around the world have taken part in the sifting, This magnitude of participation is unprecedented in the area of archaeological research. The Project is organized under the auspices of Bar-Ilan University with the support of the City of David Foundation and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. Those who are traveling to Israel and wish to participate in the project can find more information at the Temple Mount Website.
An often overlooked aspect of this find, and others like it, is the implications it has on the debate over the Israelites Exodus from Egypt and their Conquest of Canaan 40 years later.
Spielman made the incredible find when she came with her family to take part in the Sifting Project. “While I was sifting, I came across a piece of pottery that was different from others I had seen, and I immediately thought that maybe I had found something special,” she said in a press release.
The more than 3,000-year-old Egyptian amulet, with its bottom part broken away, measures 21mm wide, 4 mm thick and its preserved length is 16 mm. A loop on top allowed it to be strung and hung on the neck as a pendant. (Photo: City of David / Temple Mount Sifting Project / Israel Antiquities Authority)
12-year-old Neshama Spielman at the Temple Mount Sifting Project where she discovered the amulet. (Photo: City of David / Temple Mount Sifting Project / Adina Graham)
Asked how the Egyptian amulet could have reached so far as Jerusalem, Dr. Barkay told the City of David, “For more than 300 years, during the Late Bronze Age, Canaan and the city state of Jerusalem were under Egyptian dominion.”
Scarabs bearing the name of Thutmose III have been discovered in Jerusalem before, but this is the first time an amulet bearing his name has been found. Egyptologist, Baruch Brandl of the Israel Antiquities Authority headed the research deciphering the hieroglyphics. Thutmose III is called the “Napoleon of Egypt” by historians, due to his conquest of cities and lands to establish a vast empire. As Egypt’s most successful military leader, he transformed it into an international superpower.
An often-overlooked aspect of this find, and others like it, is the implications it has on the debate over the Israelites Exodus from Egypt and their Conquest of Canaan 40 years later. The early date view for the Exodus places it around 1450 BC, which would have been in the middle of Thutmose III’s reign according to the standard chronology for Egypt. As attested by this amulet, Egypt at this time had a strong grip on Canaan including Jerusalem, which was known as Jebus and populated with the Jebusites at the time.
“The Amalekites dwell in the land of the Negeb. The Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the hill country. And the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and along the Jordan.” – Numbers 13:29 (ESV)

The Bible lists the inhabitants of Canaan at the time of the Conquest, but there is no mention of Egyptians being there or that they were encountered in any of the battles. Does that mean that the Conquest did not happen as described in the Bible or could there be another explanation?  That is the topic in part 2 of next week’s Thinker Update.

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