An Israeli First-Grader Stumbled on a 3,500-Year-Old Egyptian Amulet on a School Trip

At first she was upset she couldn’t keep it, but Amalia Riverkin eventually came around.

Photo Omer Shalev, Israel Antiquities Authority.

A first-grade teacher at Alumim School in Efrat, a settlement in Palestine, recently took her class on a trip to Tel Azekah, sometimes described as the site of the biblical encounter between David and Goliath. Showing them a piece of old pottery she had picked up, she explained that there were many ancient artifacts and unique items in the ground. 

When she noted her pupil and their friend lagging behind the group toward the end of the trip, she found them studying a tiny rock that looked like a bead. 

“I looked at it closely and saw incised lines, I turned it over and saw ancient Egyptian writing,” Hanna Spitzer, the teacher, later said. “At that moment I realized that what I was holding in my hand was thousands of years old.” In fact, experts now say the item dates back some 3,500 years.

Spitzer contacted the Israel Antiquities Authority, and Omer Shalev, director of the organization’s Jerusalem Education Center, traveled to the school that same day and presented Amalia with a certificate of appreciation.

Photo Omer Shalev, Israel Antiquities Authority.

The scarab seal is a talisman in the shape of a dung beetle, an animal that was sacred to the ancient Egyptians and served as a symbol of new life. Such scarab amulets found in modern-day Israel indicate an Egyptian presence there some 3,500 years ago. The amulet bears the name of the sun god Amun-Ra, one of the great deities in the Egyptian pantheon during the New Kingdom (16th to 11th centuries B.C.E.). Five scarabs inscribed with his name had already been found at Tel Azekah. 

“Many people have antiquities in their homes that came into their possession under different circumstances: some were collected in the field in the course of agricultural work or walking and others were inherited,” Eli Escusido, Antiquities Authority director stated in a press release published on the organization’s Facebook page. “Many of these people are unaware that by law they have to report the discovery of antiquities as they are legally public historical treasures.”


More Trending Stories:  

A Norwegian Dad Hiking With His Family Discovered a Rock Face Covered With Bronze Age Paintings 

A Gnarly Old Tooth Found in a Museum Cabinet Could Provide the Key to Understanding an Ancient Relative of the Hippo 

The De Sica Family’s Storied Villa in Capri, Frequented by Artistic Luminaries From Cy Twombly to D. H. Lawrence, Has Found a Buyer 

After a Memorably Botched Action Bronson Show, the Rockaway Hotel Is Offering Refunds and Reassurances About Its Arts Programming 

What Would Architecture Look Like in the Virtual Realm? See Inside a New Show of Gravity-Defying, A.I.-Generated Designs 

Photographer Harry Benson Captured Candid Images of the Stars, Including the Beatles and Liza Minnelli. Here Are the Stories Behind 6 of His Iconic Photos 

In Pictures: A Surprising Museum Show Explores the Starring Role Seaweed—Yes, Seaweed—Plays in Classic Works of Art and Design 

Lisa Schiff Questioned the Validity of Art Appraisals. Days Later, She Was Sued for Fraud 

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.