tel dor tel dor The seal was buried in the ancient port city of Tel Dor. (Photo: Tel Dor Excavations)

Ancient Egyptian treasury official's seal discovered by birdwatcher

3,700-year-old stone is shaped like a beetle and covered in hieroglyphics.

A 3,700-year-old seal that belonged to a senior member of Egypt's treasury department was just found near Haifa, an Israeli port city. A birdwatcher found the seal and gave it to scientists at Israel's University of Haifa. No word yet on if it was a good day for bird watching.

scarab beetle"Scarab seals" were made to resemble scarabs, a type of beetle. (Photo: Tel Dor Excavations)

Archaeologists believe the seal belonged to an official in Egypt's Pharaonic dynasty back in the 18th century B.C. Scientists are still trying to figure out the owner's name, but his position, "who is over the treasury," is written clearly in hieroglyphics over the beetle-shaped stone.

They're also trying to discover how the seal traveled from Egypt to Israel's Mediterranean coast. So far, their best guesses are that the official visited a port city on treasury business, or that merchants sold the seal in a market for Egyptian artifacts much later in history, possibly when the area was Roman territory.

“Since the scarab had rolled off the mound and was not found in its archaeological context, we will probably never really know when and how it got here and where it has been,” said the University of Haifa's Ayelet Gilboa, the co-head of excavations.

While it may not have been great day for bird watching, the beetle watching was phenomenal.


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Ancient Egyptian treasury official's seal discovered by birdwatcher
Birdwatcher discovers ancient Egyptian treasury official's seal in Israel.