Egyptian god Bes figurine found in tomb.

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A small frit figurine of the god Bes, identified by Willis, came out of the grave from operation M. Only a fraction of an inch high, the figurine was pierced to be suspended on a fine thread. It was found in context with a number of other beads, probably constituting a rather rich necklace worn by the interred individual. Bes was originally an Egyptian god who was a protector of households and in particular women and childbirth. It is not surprising therefore to find that images of Bes turn out far afield from ancient Egypt. While none have been found at Ziyaret Tepe before, they are present within the reaches of the Neo-Assyrian empire. Bes is immediately recognizable by his squat figure, grotesque face, beard, and large belly, which on our small figurine is marked with a small indentation for the navel.

This photograph of the Bes figurine was taken before conservation, so it is hard to make out the god. Such items are common in Egypt in the first millennium BC and its discovery in southeastern Turkey points to the long distance contacts maintained across the ancient Near East.

By matney

Dr. Matney is Professor of Archaeology in the Department of Anthropology and Classical Studies at the University of Akron. He is the Director of the Ziyaret Tepe Archaeological Expedition.

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