Thursday, April 14, 2016

Report: those hexagrams at Elephantine are ancient

ICONOGRAPHY OR ANCIENT GRAFFITI? Dispelling rumors, Egypt says stars at ancient temple not new, not Jewish. Engraved six-pointed shapes found at Elephantine date to late antiquity, are not Stars of David (Ilan Ben Zion, Times of Israel).
Egypt’s Antiquities Authority said in an Arabic statement last week that the stone, discovered by Swiss archaeologists in 1985, was determined to have been inscribed at some point between the 1st and 6th century CE. Further studies are needed to better pinpoint the date of the stars’ inscription, the ministry said.

The report noted that six-pointed stars didn’t appear in Coptic artifacts during that period, nor did they appear in Islamic iconography until the 8th century CE. Nasr Salama, director of Aswan antiquities with the ministry, insisted in a telephone conversation with The Times of Israel that, contrary to media reports, the designs were not Stars of David, but six-pointed stars.
This is still not very lucid. How do the archaeologists know when the symbols were inscribed? Does saying that the hexagrams were "not Stars of David" mean that they weren't Jewish symbols or (correctly) that the Jewish symbol (which did exist in late antiquity) was not at that time called a Star of David or associated with David? If they aren't Jewish symbols, what are they? Native Egyptian? But anyhow, my musings in this post don't seem too far off so far. Additional background is here.