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from Tell el-Ajjul, Palestine

Postcard of Scarab.
© National Museums Scotland


A scarab is an ancient Egyptian amulet in the form of a dung beetle, symbolic of regeneration. As time went on, scarabs developed into use as personal seals. This example of glazed steatite from Tell el-Ajjul in Palestine dates from the 2nd Intermediate Period or early New Kingdom (around 1759 to 1295 BC).

This picture shows the base of the scarab. It has been incised with a continuous scroll design.

Scarabs were made in various materials, with glazed steatite the most common. They first appeared at the end of the Old Kingdom (around 2650 to 2150 BC), but did not become common until the Middle Kingdom (around 2007 to 1759 BC).

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-104-600-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  A.1938.284
Date: 2nd Intermediate Period or early New Kingdom (around 1759 to 1295 BC)
2nd Intermediate Period, 15th - 16th Dynasty
Dimensions: 0.63" L
Subject: Scarabs
Where: Ancient Egypt, Palestine, Tell el-Ajjul
Description: Scarab in glazed steatite, with a continuous scroll device incised on the base: Palestinian, from Tell el-Ajjul, Ancient Egyptian, 2nd Intermediate Period or early New Kingdom
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