Although the artifacts shown here were all unearthed at archaeological sites in modern Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, they look like they may have come from Egypt. Through most of the Bronze Age (3000–1200 B.C.E.) Egypt’s robust cultural and economic hegemony extended across the Sinai peninsula and up the Mediterranean coast as far as the southern reaches of Anatolia (modern Turkey). Well into the Iron Age (1200–586 B.C.E.), during the reign of the Judahite king Hezekiah (727–697 B.C.E.), Egypt still exerted strong influence in the region. Author Robert Deutsch suggests that by then, however, some symbols of Egyptian origin had been accepted as transcultural emblems of royalty that could be appropriated by any sovereign, such as Hezekiah, who might want to project an image of dominance and power.

Assorted anthropoid clay coffins (top) dating to the Late Bronze Age (c. 1550–1200 B.C.E.), were found at Deir el-Balah in the Gaza Strip. Their lids have characteristically Egyptian poses. An ivory plaque (second from top) depicts the Egyptian god Heh crouching between two ankhs and holding a palm branch in either hand. It is dated to the Late Iron Age (1000–586 B.C.E.) and was found in Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel. An ivory head of the Egyptian goddess Hathor (above) that dates to the Late Bronze Age (1550–1200 B.C.E.) was unearthed at Megiddo. A statuette of a pregnant woman wearing an Egyptian wig (below), which was discovered in the Phoenician cemetery at Ahziv, dates to the seventh or sixth century B.C.E. A Late Bronze Age faience amulet (bottom) found in Israel depicts the Egyptian dwarf god Bes, protector of women and childbirth.