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Austrian archaeologists make Babylonian find in Egypt

By Lisa Chapman

Austrian archaeologists have found a Babylonian seal in Egypt that confirms contact between the Babylonians and the Hyksos during the second millennium B.C.

Irene Forstner-Müller, the head of the Austrian Archaeological Institute’s (ÖAI) branch office in Cairo, said today (Thurs) the find had occurred at the site of the ancient town of Avaris near what is today the city of Tell el-Dab’a in the eastern Nile delta.

The Hyksos conquered Egypt and reigned there from 1640 to 1530 B.C.

She said a recently-discovered cuneiform tablet had led archaeologists to suspect there had been contact between the Babylonians and the Hyksos.

Forstner-Müller added that Manfred Bietak had begun archaeological research on the period of Hyksos dominance at the remains of a Hyksos palace at Avaris in 1966.

She said ÖAI would open a museum at the Avaris site that the Egyptian government and sponsors would fund to make the seal and other objects accessible to tourists.

Forstner-Müller added Avaris would remain ÖAI’s main project site in Egypt but that ÖAI and the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) were working together at a site at Philae/Aswan and ÖAI and Berlin’s Humboldt University were working together at another in Luxor/Asasif.

Ephesos, Turkey, remained the site of ÖAI’s so-called "flagship" project since it had been important historically from the Copper Age to the time of the Ottoman Empire, she said.

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