September 1, 2009

Ancient Egyptian stone fragment found

An ancient stone fragment with archaic Egyptian signs found at a dig near Lake Kinneret is the first of its kind to be found outside Egypt, archaeologists said.

The Tel Bet Yerah (Khirbet el-Kerak) site, where the 1.574 inch long stone fragment was found last week, was on an ancient highway that connected Egypt to the ancient Near East , Maariv said Tuesday. It is also where the Jordan River empties into Lake Kinneret , the paper said.

Tel Aviv University's Raphael Greenberg and David Wengrow of England directed the teams at the dig, the paper said.

Such finds are rare enough in Egypt let alone outside of the country, Greenberg told the paper.

The carvings on the stone fragment he said shows an arm and hand grasping a scepter and an early form of the ankh sign (key of life). Greenberg estimated the stone fragment dates back to Egypt's First Dynasty period around 3000 BC, the paper said.