An incredible, 3,400-year-old anchor from ancient Egypt, covered in intricate hieroglyphics and the image of a faceless goddess, has been uncovered in Israel.
The enigmatic anchor has recently been included by the Museum of Israel in its exhibition. The ancient anchor features several intricately carved decorations, as well as the image of a goddess whose face seems to have been wiped from the stone. Experts say that the anchor is at least 3,400 years old.
The anchor was raised from the bottom of the sea last January.
According to experts, the anchor, which was found by a man who was swimming near the city of Haifa, was made from a block of stone that was part of an ancient Egyptian temple.
The date of the anchor was established thanks to the numerous inscriptions on the surface of the stone anchor.
Experts say that based on the types of hieroglyphics, it dated from the fifteenth century before our era and was part of the decoration of a religious site.
Experts say that stone was a scarce material in the Nile Valley, and it makes perfect sense that every bit of it was recycled and reused in ancient times, passing from being part of a temple to being an ancient Egyptian anchor.
In other words, before the stone was used as an anchor, it was part of a temple. This means that the ancient stonemason did not decide to make a decorative anchor, but he made use of the materials that were available to him at the time.
However, before reusing it for another purpose, experts say that it was necessary to take away from the stone its religious significate.
That’s why in ancient times, whoever decided to reuse the stone, first made sure to eliminate all traces of the stone connected to the goddess. Experts believe before the stone was reused in ancient times, it bore the fact of the ancient Egyptian goddess of wisdom, knowledge, and writing Seshat.
The goddess of scribes did not have a temple dedicated to her specifically, but Seshat did appear on the walls of other major ancient Egyptian temples.
The researchers say that the chisel marks that separated it from the temple—scholars still don’t know where the temple was located—are clearly visible today.
Experts also say that the stone’s significance may have been erased in times of religious conflict. The exact reason remains a mystery, and we can only theorize as to what happened in ancient times.
The anchor was found by Rafi Bahalul, a 55-year-old veterinarian while swimming in the Mediterranean Sea near the city of Haifa.
“I saw it, kept on swimming for a few meters, then realized what I had seen and dived down to touch it,” Rafi Bahalul told reporters. “It was like entering an Egyptian temple at the bottom of the Mediterranean.”
Researchers are expected to survey the area where the anchor was discovered in hopes that more similar objects will be found, which could help shed light on the trade that existed in the region thousands of years ago.