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by owenjarus on Tue, 01/05/2010 - 16:04
One of the most perplexing mysteries that Egyptologists and Aegean experts are tackling is that of the frescoes of Tell el-Dab'a, also known as Avaris.
This site was used as the capital of the Hyksos, at a time when they ruled much of Egypt, from 1640 – 1530 BC. It is on the Nile Delta and would have provided access to the Sinai, Levant and southern Egypt.
The site appears to have been abandoned for a time after the Hyksos were driven out. However, by the end of the 18th dynasty (when the Egyptians were back in control of their land), the site was in use and sported with three – yes three – large palaces. They were ringed by an enclosure wall. The whole complex was about 5.5 hectares in size.
She believes that the frescoes were drawn by out of work Minoan artists – who traveled to Egypt as the Minoan civilization was declining.
Professor Shaw’s argument works like this-
Cretan rulers controlled their art extremely carefully. Shaw said that the bull-leaping scenes are a symbol of the Palace of Knossos and are found nowhere else on the island. “I stress in no other palaces,” she said.
Also half-rosettes, the flowery decoration seen on the scenes at Tell el-Dab'a, are “a sign of royalty... it’s amazing that it was appropriated and used at Tell el-Dab'a.”
Given that the bull-leaping and half-rosette symbols were tightly controlled on Crete, it makes no sense that the rulers would let their artists paint them in a foreign country.
So, again, what are they doing in Egypt?