Deir el-Balah Expedition

Symbol of Egyptian rule. Pieces of blue frit (a material used in making glass) and carnelian (a form of red quartz) were found in one of the rooms of the Stratum IX building. They had square holes, so they did not belong to a necklace. Most likely they were pieces of an Egyptian flail or scepter, Egyptian symbols of authority and attributes of the Egyptian god of the dead, Osiris. Though few flails and scepters have been found, the ones that have, including those on a statue of Pharaoh Tutankhamun from his Amarna tomb, have square rods. Based on her discovery of these square-holed chunks of frit and carnelian, excavator Trude Dothan concludes that Deir el-Balah’s Stratum IX complex was the palace of an Egyptian governor or an administrative residence.