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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 steatite is similar to ones found in Palestine. It dates from the New Kingdom (around 1479 to 1069 BC).

This picture shows the back of the scarab. It has been engraved with a figure of a lion looking backwards, plants, a sun symbol, and a cartouche (an oval which contained a name), here with the name of Thutmose III, king of Egypt around 1479 to 1425.

Religious and secular life were intertwined in ancient Egypt. The king (known as pharaoh from the time of the New Kingdom) was also considered to be several gods. Objects inscribed with the names of kings could function as amulets, and need not date to their reigns.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-004-281-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  A.1886.473
Date: New Kingdom
New Kingdom: after the reign of Thutmose III (around 1479 to 1069 BC)
Dimensions: 0.63" L
Subject: Scarabs
Who: Men-Kheper-re
Where: Ancient Egypt, Palestine
Description: Scarab, steatite, inscribed with name of Thutmose III: Palestinian, Ancient Egyptian, New Kingdom
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