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Thread: Cemetery of adolescents found at Akhenaten's city of Amarna

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    Cemetery of adolescents found at Akhenaten's city of Amarna

    This is the dark underbelly of all these glorious monuments: child slaves.

    http://www.archaeology.org/news/5609...arna-akhenaten

    "CARBONDALE, ILLINOIS—According to a report in The Guardian, a team of researchers led by Gretchen Dabbs of Southern Illinois University examined the skeletons of 105 individuals whose remains were recovered from the North Tombs Cemetery at Amarna, the short-lived city built by the so-called heretic pharaoh Akhenaten, who died in 1332 B.C. The entire cemetery, which is located near an ancient stone quarry, could contain thousands of burials. The analysis revealed that more than 90 percent of the deceased in the sample had been between the ages of seven and 25, with most under the age of 15. Adolescents usually experience robust health, but the majority of the teens in the sample showed signs of traumatic injuries and degenerative conditions associated with heavy workloads. The researchers also note that the young people may not been buried by their families, since the graves lacked grave goods, and multiple bodies had been stacked in many of them. The young workers may have been the children of slaves, or captured for the purpose of building the pharaoh’s city."


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    Wow, talking about child labour...
    Be wary of people who tend to glorify the past, underestimate the present, and demonize the future.

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    Pretty sick. It rings of old testament Hebrew legends of their Egyptian slavery. Would there be testable DNA? If funds are an issue, something like this could probably garner donations from the Jewish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by I1a3_Young View Post
    Pretty sick. It rings of old testament Hebrew legends of their Egyptian slavery. Would there be testable DNA? If funds are an issue, something like this could probably garner donations from the Jewish.
    That's what I immediately thought about as well. You would think, whoever they were they were probably from a captive population of some kind.

    In 1469 BC Pharaoh Thutmose III defeated the Canaanites at Megiddo, beginning Egyptian rule over the area. (The word for Armageddon, or end of the world, comes from Megiddo, btw.) Warfare continued for a number of years even after the battle before the area was "pacified".

    Biblical archaeologists have often given a date of around 1300 BC for some sort of "Exodus" of the Jews from Egypt.

    This would be during the reign of Akhenaten, who was the Pharaoh building the city of Amarna. He was proposing a new religion for Egypt, one based on worship of "one" god, Aten, not the traditional pantheon of the Egyptian gods. This earned him the enmity of the priests and nobility and the more traditional of his people. Upon his death work on the city ceased, the old worship returned, and he was, as much as possible, erased from Egyptian history. (The beautiful Nefertiti was his wife, and Tutankhamen his son, although not by her.)

    I've wondered whether the "Jews" were actually Canaanites enslaved in Egypt who adopted a notion of a "one god" and brought it back to the Levant with them, that being really the only distinguishing feature between them and the Canaanites who had remained.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle...th_century_BC)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akhenaten


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    Apalling as it may be, I don't think that what happened in Egypt was an exception.
    Think of the slaves working in the mines.
    Vae victis, that is how the Romans said it.
    Defeated people often prefered to commit suicide in order not to fall in the hand of the victourious enemy.
    Don't forget that the pharao had absolute power.

    And there was no such thing as an exodus of the Jews out of Egypt.
    It is a fabricated story written in the Bible to enhance unity among the Jewish people.
    Those biblical archeologists made every possible effort to prove the exodus and they haven't found one single shred of solid evidence.
    They are no better than the most fervent Nordicists roaming obscure websites.
    The Bible's origin is oral tradition but written down ca 2.8 ka as commissioned by the Jewish kings to justify their actions and to serve their purposes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    Apalling as it may be, I don't think that what happened in Egypt was an exception.
    Think of the slaves working in the mines.
    Vae victis, that is how the Romans said it.
    Defeated people often prefered to commit suicide in order not to fall in the hand of the victourious enemy.
    Don't forget that the pharao had absolute power.

    And there was no such thing as an exodus of the Jews out of Egypt.
    It is a fabricated story written in the Bible to enhance unity among the Jewish people.
    Those biblical archeologists made every possible effort to prove the exodus and they haven't found one single shred of solid evidence.
    They are no better than the most fervent Nordicists roaming obscure websites.
    The Bible's origin is oral tradition but written down ca 2.8 ka as commissioned by the Jewish kings to justify their actions and to serve their purposes.
    This is one thing on which I couldn't disagree more.

    It's the same type of situation as with "The Iliad". No one thought Troy existed, or the Mycenaeans, or a fabulous bull worshiping realm in the Aegean, but they did.

    Of course, the particular characters in the Iliad may be totally fictional, or at least fictionalized, and the story may have been written to glorify their ancestors. I highly doubt that the war was fought over the infidelity of a woman married to a Greek war lord. The reasons were undoubtedly much more mundane, and tied to economics, particularly trade disputes and control of the waterways. However, the war happened.

    It's the same thing with biblical archaeology. The earliest versions of what Christians call the Old Testament were written during the Babylonian Captivity, and I think they were indeed partly written to keep the Jewish people unified during that captivity. Those documents were also written to solidify Jewish religious practice and to record oral traditions going far back in time.

    So, do I or any of the Biblical archaeologists I've read think that there were plagues which the the god of the Hebrews used to force the Egyptians to let them go? No, I don't. However, I think it's perfectly plausible that some of them, before they even became "Jews" were enslaved in Egypt.

    The same thing applies to David and his city. Was there a Jerusalem? Yes, I think there was, although I doubt it had much resemblance to the glories described in the Bible.

    The thing to remember is that while the OT is first and primarily a book of religion, it's also a book of the history and culture of a people. Is it going to contain a lot of self-congratulation and muddying up of different bits and pieces from different eras? Undoubtedly. That doesn't mean that it can't be used to piece together the history of the Levant and the greater Near East, because I don't think there's any question that it can.

    I think you underestimate the power of such oral traditions to keep alive shreds of ancient history. The Polynesians are another example. Their oral traditions of their journey to Hawaii were considered only fables until someone actually recreated them, and genetic studies have further confirmed them.

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    I re-read Exodus out of curiosity and noticed a few things. (assuming some level of historical truth here)

    1. Moses was supposedly Hebrew but adopted by a Pharaoh's daughter. Yet when he is grown he witnesses atrocities or crimes inflicted upon "his people" by a person of Egyptian authority. Two other Hebrews also could tell Moses was one of them. Could this imply that the Egyptian rulers of ~1300 BC were distinctly different looking than the Hebrews?
    2. After leaving Egypt, the people were angered with Moses for marrying an Ethiopian woman (implying she was very different or somehow beneath what Moses should be marrying). This is while running about in the desert across the sea from Ethiopia. Could this Ethiopian woman have come from Egypt with them? It seems odd that he would meet and marry a random Ethiopian after just meeting her in the desert during their travels.
    3. It specifies that Abraham's descendant Jacob and his descendants were living in Egypt, that generation died off, but the descendants were there. Then a new king of Egypt ("who knew Jacob not") came to power and conquered/enslaved them.
    4. They were then forced to build specifically the "treasure cities" of Pithom and Rhamses

    Of course there is conflicting information and/or large gaps in the timeline (Exodus claims 430 years of captivity).

    If we want to play guessing games, it would fit that Ahkenaten/Nefertiti/Tut (allegedly could have been R1b branch specific to later europeans) ruled Egypt and were on good terms with the Hebrews. Then, Rhamses (SSA yDNA) took advantage of political instability and became Pharaoh. "Did not know Jacob" implies a foreigner and the end of a dynasty sounds like a ripe time to invade. If Rhamses was foreign then solidifying all of the Nile delta seems logical. He must have wielded considerable force to subjugate such a large group of people. The Hebrews still lived in their homes but were subordinate as a whole people to the ruling class rather than slaves owned by individual masters. Then, Moses leads an armed revolt (rather than the magical mumbo jumbo in Exodus). It says in Exodus that they battled desert people with the edges of their swords. I presume they didn't forge enough swords for an army battle real quick while traveling the desert. It's therefore implied that they brought them from Egypt along with the livestock herds and extensive possessions.

    Had they proceeded directly to their known ancient homeland of Canaan, the Pharaoh could have sent an army for revenge. Instead they spend 40 years roaming the desert to hide out until it blows over (possibly the Pharaoh dies). They then proceed to reconquer their ancient homeland, of which they could be ethnically identical. Indeed they constantly use spies which apparently don't stand out visually from the local peoples.

    All of that non-withstanding, the biblical account of the Philistines matches Egyptian records. They were conquered people subject to Egyptian authority. And now we have evidence of forced slavery during Ahkenaten's rule, meaning the practice of large scale subjugation crossed dynasties.

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    I think the people in the OT Bible stories are interesting character studies, but I'm doubtful anyone should take the details too seriously.

    It's even worse than trying to figure out English history from reading Shakespeare's Richard III or Henry V. In that case, the plays were written relatively soon after the periods in question, so we know from other sources those kings existed and their names, and we know the battles that were fought, etc., but who knows their exact motivations, the quality of their relationships etc.?

    In the case of the OT, perhaps there was a leader in Egypt, but who he was, what he was like, how similar he was to Moses in the Bible is, I think, unknowable, unless you're a religious person who is taking all of this as the inspired word of God at least in a general sense.

    What I do think it very probably tells us is the attitudes of the Jewish scribes in Babylon who began the process of writing the first five books of the OT.

    If you're interested in this topic, there's an excellent book called "Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses" by Bruce Feiler. It's about ten or so years old, so scholarship has moved on, but it's a good beginning.
    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...king_the_Bible

    There's also an excellent book by Leon Uris called "The Source", which I had read years ago, and then my children were assigned it over the summer before senior year in high school for their ancient history class. It holds up beautifully.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Source_(novel)

    Of course, the list of academic sources is endless: books, papers, magazines etc.

    This is a relatively recent source (2012) with three different points of view:
    https://www.academia.edu/18613923/An...and-the-exodus

    To state it briefly, the scholarship went from absolutely every word is literally true and we have to just find the proof, to none of it is historically true, and there were no invasions anywhere (tied to the no invasion movement in archaeology in general), to a more nuanced view.

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    well, much more effort has gone into finding proof for the exodus than into the finding of Troy
    the Jews originated as herding tribes in the hills between the southern Levant and the Negev desert
    they expanded into the vacuum created by the retreat of the Egyptians out of the Levant
    there may have been a few escaped slaves from Egypt amongst them
    but there was never a whole tribe wandering thorugh the Sinaï desert for decades
    thourough research and even digging has been done in places where the Jews on their exodus could have passed or settled for a while

    that is at least what I recall from reading an intersting book about the Sea Peoples
    unfortunatley I don't have the book any more, nor the title, but it was written by an academic with knowledge on the subject

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    I think the people in the OT Bible stories are interesting character studies, but I'm doubtful anyone should take the details too seriously.

    It's even worse than trying to figure out English history from reading Shakespeare's Richard III or Henry V. In that case, the plays were written relatively soon after the periods in question, so we know from other sources those kings existed and their names, and we know the battles that were fought, etc., but who knows their exact motivations, the quality of their relationships etc.?

    In the case of the OT, perhaps there was a leader in Egypt, but who he was, what he was like, how similar he was to Moses in the Bible is, I think, unknowable, unless you're a religious person who is taking all of this as the inspired word of God at least in a general sense.

    What I do think it very probably tells us is the attitudes of the Jewish scribes in Babylon who began the process of writing the first five books of the OT.

    If you're interested in this topic, there's an excellent book called "Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses" by Bruce Feiler. It's about ten or so years old, so scholarship has moved on, but it's a good beginning.
    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...king_the_Bible

    There's also an excellent book by Leon Uris called "The Source", which I had read years ago, and then my children were assigned it over the summer before senior year in high school for their ancient history class. It holds up beautifully.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Source_(novel)

    Of course, the list of academic sources is endless: books, papers, magazines etc.

    This is a relatively recent source (2012) with three different points of view:
    https://www.academia.edu/18613923/An...and-the-exodus

    To state it briefly, the scholarship went from absolutely every word is literally true and we have to just find the proof, to none of it is historically true, and there were no invasions anywhere (tied to the no invasion movement in archaeology in general), to a more nuanced view.
    Yes, it's fun to guess about and thank you for those sources. I personally believe that the early OT was religious fable imposed on real historical events. Genesis = fable introduced to establish divine right and answer the natural question of "where did we come from." Abraham and his family are likely the beginning of real people. Exodus was probably the beginning of real history but an effort to impose "God" lead to the 7 plagues, etc.

    I do remember that the Tel Dan Stele was a more recent find which specifically mentioned the defeat of the Sons of David by a Hittite King. As the OT progresses it gets more and more historically accurate as it moves to real time recording (as you said, Babylonian captivity).

    I know some naysayers like to try and discount everything but as we find more things, it looks likely that the history of the Hebrews was at least close to what they eventually wrote down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    Apalling as it may be, I don't think that what happened in Egypt was an exception.
    Think of the slaves working in the mines.
    Vae victis, that is how the Romans said it.
    Defeated people often prefered to commit suicide in order not to fall in the hand of the victourious enemy.
    Don't forget that the pharao had absolute power.

    And there was no such thing as an exodus of the Jews out of Egypt.
    It is a fabricated story written in the Bible to enhance unity among the Jewish people.
    Those biblical archeologists made every possible effort to prove the exodus and they haven't found one single shred of solid evidence.
    They are no better than the most fervent Nordicists roaming obscure websites.
    The Bible's origin is oral tradition but written down ca 2.8 ka as commissioned by the Jewish kings to justify their actions and to serve their purposes.
    I think there's some evidence that points to a grain of historical truth: 1. The tetragrammaton is first documented in Egypt, shortly before Akhenaten attempts his monotheist reforms. 2. Yahweh doesn't appear to be Hebrew but some kind of early dialect of Semitic or Arabic. 3. Jewish tradition has it that Moses learnt of his God through his Midianite father-in-law.

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    Quote Originally Posted by I1a3_Young View Post
    Yes, it's fun to guess about and thank you for those sources. I personally believe that the early OT was religious fable imposed on real historical events. Genesis = fable introduced to establish divine right and answer the natural question of "where did we come from." Abraham and his family are likely the beginning of real people. Exodus was probably the beginning of real history but an effort to impose "God" lead to the 7 plagues, etc.

    I do remember that the Tel Dan Stele was a more recent find which specifically mentioned the defeat of the Sons of David by a Hittite King. As the OT progresses it gets more and more historically accurate as it moves to real time recording (as you said, Babylonian captivity).

    I know some naysayers like to try and discount everything but as we find more things, it looks likely that the history of the Hebrews was at least close to what they eventually wrote down.
    I must admit my knowledge is very limited, but I agree, my impression is that the early tales of the OT are tales, and even twisted tales to help the rulers who commissioned the writing down of these tales, while later events are more accurate. These later events happened when the early parts of the OT already existed in written form.

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    Quote Originally Posted by I1a3_Young View Post
    Pretty sick. It rings of old testament Hebrew legends of their Egyptian slavery. Would there be testable DNA? If funds are an issue, something like this could probably garner donations from the Jewish.
    Unless there was already SS admixture into Egyptians, you wouldn't recognize bronze age Jews from Egyptians, especially if we don't have actual BA Jew to compare samples too. BA South-West middle easterners were very similar genetically, of the same source of Neolithic and BA Levant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkoZ View Post
    I think there's some evidence that points to a grain of historical truth: 1. The tetragrammaton is first documented in Egypt, shortly before Akhenaten attempts his monotheist reforms. 2. Yahweh doesn't appear to be Hebrew but some kind of early dialect of Semitic or Arabic. 3. Jewish tradition has it that Moses learnt of his God through his Midianite father-in-law.
    Well, who knows, maybe in reality Akhenaten (or other leaders of this monotheistic sect) were the Moses, and Jews are the members of this Egyption sect, who had to run away to survive. Jews might be Bronze Age Egyptians, or some pastoralist tribe very related to them, from area of Egypt.
    There is never a mention about Jews working as slaves in Egypt, in any of the countless stories deciphered from hieroglifs.

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    Fwiw, I don't think there were any Jews yet in 1400-1300 BC, and I don't even think Hebrew had formed yet as a separate language, although I'm not sure of that.

    The people whom the Egyptians would have enslaved would have just been Semitic pastoralists. What they became later is another story.

    For anyone who has netflix there's a documentary on there called "Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus". It's on my list to watch but I haven't gotten to it yet.

    I've always found it suggestive that Aten, the one god, the creator god, could not be depicted anthropomorphically, but only as rays of light. The Jews and the Muslims after them are also not permitted to depict "God" or any of his human creatures, for that matter.

    These are a few bits from the "Hymn to Aten":

    "O sole god, like whom there is no other!Thou didst create the world according to thy desire,Whilst thou wert alone: All men, cattle, and wild beasts,Whatever is on earth, going upon (its) feet,And what is on high, flying with its wings."
    "You are in my heart,There is no other who knows you,Only your son, Neferkheprure, Sole-one-of-Re [Akhenaten],Whom you have taught your ways and your might.[Those on] earth come from your hand as you made them."


    Compared to:

    Thou shalt have no other God before me.

    Thous shalt create no graven images.


    Nehemiah 9:6
    "You alone are the LORD. You have made the heavens, The heaven of heavens with all their host, The earth and all that is on it, The seas and all that is in them. You give life to all of them And the heavenly host bows down before You."


    Job 38:4
    "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding,"

    Just as the Hebrews borrowed both of the Babylonian creation stories and the Epic of Gilgamesh for the flood story, I think it's possible they borrowed all of this.

    I just don't know where Ahenaten got it.

    For what it's worth, they probably wouldn't have worked on the pyramids. The last ones were finished by sometime around 1700 BC I think. Unless, that is, they really were there for 400 or more years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Fwiw, I don't think there were any Jews yet in 1400-1300 BC, and I don't even think Hebrew had formed yet as a separate language, although I'm not sure of that.
    That's what I was aiming at.

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    I watched the Exodus "documentary" on Netflix mentioned above.

    It's really an attempt to prove not just the possibility of some kind of sojourn in Egypt, but the historicity of all the main elements of the Exodus narrative by placing it in the Middle Kingdom period and not in the Late Bronze Age. That's been considered before, and I think there's some merit to it.

    There is certainly some interesting new information, and some not so new, but they undercut their own credibility by the obvious ties to both the state of Israel and by religious considerations.

    One of the leading authorities on the subject of the ancient history of the Levant, and of the Jews in the Levant is the aptly named famous archaeologist Israel Finkelstein, who is interviewed in the program. He does not agree with their interpretation. He particularly does not see any evidence for any invasions of the area of Israel by a non-local group. (So, no Joshua blowing down the walls of Jericho.) They also interview a Reform Rabbi who doubts the historicity of a lot of the narrative.

    His work is very interesting and has to be given a lot of consideration, but I do think he suffers from some of the "anti-migration" bias which so infected the archaeology of the post war period.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel_Finkelstein

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