Courtesy W. F. Albright Institute

This carved piece of bone, about 6.4 inches (16 cm) high, comes from the excavation of Beth El (now Beitin). It is the handle of an Egyptian instrument usually called a sistrum in Greek and Roman literature. The sistrum was sacred to the goddess Hathor, whose head here forms the top of the handle. An oval frame made of a bent bronze or iron rod was attached above the handle. Two or three wires were passed horizontally through holes in the frame. Because the holes were larger than the wires, shaking the instrument would produce a jingling sound. Sometimes jingling platelets, shaped like miniature cymbals, were also strung on the cross-wires. The find dates from around the 15th century B.C. and belongs to the period of Egyptian occupation of Beth El.