Sunday 22 November 2009
An Austrian archaeological mission discovered the remains of a seal made of burnt clay with inscriptions in cuneiform. The remains of the seal, found by the mission of the Austrian Archaeological Institute in Cairo and the Egyptology Institute of the University of Vienna, were unearthed during excavation works in the archaeological area of Tal El-Daba’a in al-Sharqiya governorate, 120 kilometres northeast Cairo.
The seal, dating back to the Babylonian era, namely the ruling time of King Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC), is the second of its kind to be discovered by the Austrian mission. The first seal, similar to this one, had been discovered inside the palace of King Khayan of the Hyksos (1653-1614 BC), dating back the late Babylonian era.
Manfred Bietak, the Chief of the Austrian archaeological mission in Egypt, said the two seals are of paramount importance, being the most ancient Babylonian ones found in Egypt as they date back to 150 years before the discovery of similar seals inside the ancient archaeological city of Tal al-Amarna.
Bietak noted that the two seals also indicate that the Hyksos, known as the shepherd kings and had been notorious Asiatic invaders, had trade relations with the Far East that stretched to Babylonia.
Hammurabi is the sixth King of Babylon from 1792 BC to 1750 BC. He became the first king of the Babylonian Empire following the abdication of his father, Sin-Muballit, extending Babylon’s control over Mesopotamia by winning a series of wars against neighbouring kingdoms. Although his empire controlled all of Mesopotamia at the time of his death, his successors were unable to maintain his empire.
Hammurabi is known for the set of laws called Hammurabi’s Code, one of the first written codes of law in recorded history. These laws were written on a stone tablet standing over eight feet tall (2.4 meters) that was found in 1901.