Erich Lessing

Invaders from the northwest. Wearing their distinctive horned helmets, the invading Shardana warriors appear in this detail from an epic relief at Medinet Habu near Luxor, Egypt, which depicts a battle between the army of Pharaoh Ramesses III and the Sea Peoples in about 1174 B.C.E. Not shown in this detail are the Philistines, another tribe of the Sea Peoples, who confront the Egyptians elsewhere on the relief. Unlike the Philistines, however, the Shardana are sometimes shown in other reliefs fighting alongside the Egyptian army as mercenaries; in a papyrus, Ramesses III boasted that he drafted the defeated Shardana into his army after settling them in strongholds. Could el-Ahwat, which contained many important Egyptian artifacts, have been such a stronghold?