Science (USA): conquest of Ancient Egypt could be the uprising of immigrants

The first “foreign” conquest of Ancient Egypt may in fact may have been committed by one of their own residents. About 3 600 years ago the pharaohs had briefly lost control over the Northern part of the state. Power passed into the hands of the Hyksos rulers who looked and behaved like the natives of the region stretching from modern Syria in the North to Israel in the South. The traditional explanation — the Hyksos were the invaders, the strangers. But fresh analysis of the skeletons of their ancient capital can provide an alternative point of view: the Hyksos were born in Egypt descendants of immigrants who revolted and seized power.

The pharaohs ruled over Egypt from about 3100 BC to 30 BC, but their dominance was not always absolute. Their power was shaken around 1800 BC, after a string of weak pharaohs, who could not bring order in the country. According to ancient texts, the power vacuum was used by the Hyksos by capturing Egypt and the pharaohs and leaving only a narrow strip of land in the South.

Archaeologists know that the Hyksos were unlike the typical Egyptians: they had names like the inhabitants of the neighboring region of southwest Asia. Ancient artworks depict them in a long multi-colored robes, in contrast to the white capes worn by the Egyptians. But it was for the people, is not exactly clear.

Later pharaohs called the Hyksos, foreign invaders who force conquered Northern Egypt and brought chaos and confusion. But some historians believe that it was a kind of ancient Egyptian propaganda.

In the 1940s, scientists discovered the ancient capital of the Hyksos, Avaris, in the Nile Delta, approximately 120 kilometres North-East of Cairo. In the new study, archaeologist Chris Stantis (Chris Stantis) and her colleagues from Bournemouth University analyzed the teeth of skeletons from graves in Avaris hoping to discover who really were the Hyksos.

The teeth are formed in early childhood, and part of the enamel consists of microscopic particles of strontium from food. Comparing the balance of isotopes of strontium in the enamel with the isotopes in soils of the region, researchers can determine where people grew up.

Examining the teeth 36 of the skeletons, buried in Avaris for 350 years before the seizure of power by the Hyksos, Stentys and her colleagues found that 24 people — both men and women — were foreigners. To determine exactly where they came from, the researchers could not, but they believe that Egypt has welcomed immigrants and even hundreds of years before the coming to power of the Hyksos. Data teeth 35 people buried in Avaris in the Hyksos period, show that the influx of migrants is not exhausted and after their coming to power.

Thus, Stents suggests that hexascii rulers were not necessarily foreign invaders, and could well be an immigrant community, taking shape in the centuries Avaris, told her team in the scientific journal PLOS One.

Historian and archaeologist Anna-Latifa Mourad (Anna-Latifa Mourad) from Sydney’s Macquarie University believes that this conclusion is quite reasonable. Archaeologists have not found in Avaris evidence of the fighting and destruction, without which there would have cost if the city was raided by foreign invaders.

Egyptologist Orly Goldwasser (Orly Goldwasser) from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem believes that the majority of immigrants arrived in Egypt with the world. In one of her researches she concluded that they might even invent the alphabet.

Their coming to power, apparently, is due to the impotence of the pharaohs and the inability to control the region, says Egyptologist John Darnell (John Darnell) from Yale University.

The Hyksos ruled for about a century, after which the pharaohs won back their territory back. The researchers suggest that the armies of the pharaohs drove the Hyksos back to the Front Asia and this could be the prototype of the biblical Exodus, when the Israelites left Egypt and eventually reached the promised Land.

In General, while the Hyksos ruled a century, they seem to have left their mark on world culture.