David Harris

Elegant alabaster vessels display a flared rim (right) and a ring base (left), marking them as Egyptian. Although the vessels were discovered during the 19th-century excavations of the Byzantine church, they were never published. They were, however, preserved in the collection at the École Biblique—a bit of luck for Barkay, who was able to date them by comparison with similar pieces from the 18th and 19th Egyptian Dynasties (1575–1194 B.C.)—more evidence for his theory of an Egyptian presence in ancient Jerusalem.

Based on the accumulated evidence (much of it marshaled by Barkay himself)—the stele with hieroglyphic writing, these two Egyptian alabaster vessels, a statuette, an offering table and a capital—Barkay concludes that Jerusalem was home to an Egyptian temple in the Late Bronze Age.