In his days Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt went up to the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates. And King Josiah went to meet him, and when Pharaoh Neco saw him he killed him at Megiddo. – 2 Kings 23:29 (ESV)
When we report on current events, we run the risk of reporting premature conclusions. We are sharing only what we know so far, and as more evidence is uncovered, a better understanding of the facts may be reached. Last week we shared some news about an exciting discovery. A colossal 26-foot statue was recovered from the mud in Cairo. What was especially exciting was that archaeologists at the site believed it to be a statue of the famous Pharaoh Ramesses II.
However, after more of the statue was excavated and examined, it was determined that their original theory was wrong. At a press conference coinciding with our original posting, Japan Times reported that, archaeologists acknowledged that the identity of the statue was not likely of Ramesses II, but rather another pharaoh who reigned hundreds of years later. “Khaled el-Anani said the colossus discovered last week in a Cairo suburb by an Egyptian-German team almost certainly depicts Psamtek I, a little-known pharaoh from the 26th dynasty who ruled Egypt between 664 and 610 B.C. He said the size of the statue…was typical of Ramses II’s era, but that hieroglyphs discovered at the statue’s back-pillar after it was unearthed showed that it was of Psamtek I.” Experts acknowledge that there is still a very small possibility that the statue was originally of Ramesses II, but later reused by Psamtek I.
Psamtik I, (reigned 664–610 BC) was the king of ancient Egypt who expelled the Assyrians from Egypt and reunited the country. His successor was his son Neco. His reign is referenced several places in Scripture.
As reported in the Luxor Times, closer examination of the small details of evidence showed that, “The torso’s back-pillar has preserved one of the five names of king Psammetich I [Greek name for Psamtik I]. If it belongs to the later, it is the largest statue of the Late Period that was ever discovered in Egypt. This date explains the puzzling features of different ancient stylistic details since the Late Period, which is known for its archaizing art.”
Seti II cornice discovered in Cairo (credit: Luxor Times)
Can this situation help inform our thinking about different archaeological theories? There are several reasons excavators jumped to the conclusion that this statue was Ramesses. It was found near the entrance of a temple belonging to Ramesses II, and a statue of his grandson Seti II was found in the vicinity. Additionally, Ramesses II was famous for making giant statues of himself and this fit that style. If this had been Ramesses, it would make the find and the excavators even more famous. But, things aren’t always as they seem.
What if the inscription indicating that this statue actually belonged to Psammetich I had never been found? The view that it was Ramesses II might never have been challenged, even though that was a wrong assumption. Might there be other archaeological theories based on faulty assumptions that have become the standard view? As we at Thinking Man Films continue to research ancient history, we strive to avoid preconceived ideas as much as possible in our search for patterns of evidence that match the Bible. This often means questioning our own thinking and having conversations with others of varying viewpoints.
As Tim prepares to interview Douglas Petrovich for our next series about Moses, we are again reminded that challenging our preconceived ideas with varying viewpoints and letting the evidence lead is very important. These discussions will be about several findings of inscriptions at the time of Joseph and Moses. Also what Dr. Petrovich says about discovering the world’s oldest alphabet and that connection to the Bible. We stay enthusiastic about continuing to think and investigate alongside you!