Friday, February 19, 2016

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Treasure Cities!

In fact lots of people would say that the Israelites never left Egypt because they never were in Egypt.
Where archaeologists have been looking, they haven’t found signs of Israelites.
What they have looked for is signs of the treasure cities.  When they went to layers at Pi-Tum deeper than the 26th dynasty, they got to layers coordinating with Ramses II’s 19th dynasty.  They didn’t find remains of a treasure city.  No heavy walls.  Not even settled residences.  Just small bits that might show somebody lived there temporarily.
In the 1990s they looked lower still, and there they found definite traces of residential areas.  These remains date to the 15th through 17th dynasties, after the chaotic interregnum from which the Hyksos emerged as rulers of the Delta while “native” Egyptians ruled south of Memphis.
We have no records specifically from Hyksos rule in the Delta that I can find on the Internet.  We know that their capital was Avaris, a city later taken over by and renamed for Ramses II.  The later name continued down through the ages.  We know that Avaris was on the northwest border of the nome of Goshen.
And we know that the Hyksos were K’naani.  Their sites have K’naani pottery in them, and during the 17th dynasty artisans in the Delta created pottery of local materials but in styles that imitated ware from K’naan.  Some classically K’naani burials include a donkey sacrifice. 
We don’t know what the Hyksos called themselves but we do know that remains similar those of the Hyksos in the Delta occur around Shkhem in the Holy Land, where the Hivim lived.  And we know that when the 18th dynasty expelled the Hyksos, some of them fled to the Holy Land, were besieged and defeated at Sharuhen, a city later forming part of Shimon’s portion.
The ruins of Avaris top off with a layer of pumice.  Radiometric dating shows that this pumice was deposited about 1630 BCE.
That coincides with the explosion of Thera, now known as Santorini, which destroyed the Mykenaean town of Akrotiri and left trees in Ireland with almost no ring growth.  The dust from Thera suppressed sunlight so much that trees some 4,000 kilometers away barely grew at all.
Avaris is about 800 kilometers from Thera.  The “native” Egyptians had their capital at Waset (Thebes), 760 kilometers further south, where there are no reports of pumice. 
So now that we know where Ramses was, what about Pi-Tum?  See Exodus 1:11 and 12:37.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

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