Israel Museum/Nahum Slapak

These eerie anthropoid (human-shaped) coffins are one of the highlights of the Israel Museum’s permanent collection. Discovered in the cemetery at Deir el-Balah, in the desert about 8 miles south of Gaza, the coffins provide evidence of Egyptian influence in Canaan; they date to the Late Bronze Age II (1400–1200 B.C.), when Egypt extended control over the trade route that stretched from the Nile Delta along the Mediterranean coast to Mesopotamia.