It was Sunday morning, day two of “Pharaoh in Canaan: The Untold Story,” the latest grand-scale exhibit at the Israel Museum, and it was busy in the galleries of the exhibit.The exhibition is mostly of artifacts, but epigraphy is not entirely neglected:
Groups of visitors sat on their portable folding chairs listening to museum guides in the far corners of each gallery, or walked around clutching audioguides, gleaning information about the exhibit, which explores the cross-cultural exchange that took place between Egypt and Canaan during the second millennium BCE.
There’s a lot to learn.
While there is an overwhelming sense that the Egyptians were superior to the Canaanites in their use of better materials and finer artisan work, the Canaanites appeared to appreciate it all, showing that in their rougher copies — whether in the statues, coffins or crude pottery — or in the efforts they made to import Egyptian goods to their own shores.
The end of the exhibit brings another video, this one about the alphabet, the most enduring contribution of the Canaanites, as their hieroglypic drawings, called the Proto-Canaanite alphabet, became the basis of today’s alphabet.
A lasting contribution to society? Clearly. Perhaps even more than the Egyptians.