Daily Archives: January 10, 2010

Statue of Tirhakah discovered in Sudan

Owen Jarus reports in The Independent the discovery of a massive statue of Pharaoh Taharqa [English Bible: Tirhakah] deep in Sudan.

No statue of a pharaoh has ever been found further south of Egypt than this one. At the height of his reign, King Taharqa controlled an empire stretching from Sudan to the Levant.

A massive, one ton, statue of Taharqa that was found deep in Sudan. Taharqa was a pharaoh of the 25th dynasty of Egypt and came to power ca. 690 BC, controlling an empire stretching from Sudan to the Levant. The pharaohs of this dynasty were from Nubia – a territory located in modern day Sudan and southern Egypt.

Taharqa statue. Photo: Berber-Abidiya Archaeological Project.

Taharqa statue. Photo: Berber-Abidiya Archaeological Project.

The Nubian pharaohs tried to incorporate Egyptian culture into their own. They built pyramids in Sudan – even though pyramid building in Egypt hadn’t been practised in nearly 800 years. Taharqa’s rule was a high water mark for the 25th dynasty. By the end of his reign a conflict with the Assyrians had forced him to retreat south, back into Nubia – where he died in 664 BC. Egypt became an Assyrian vassal – eventually gaining independence during the 26th dynasty. Taharqa’s successors were never able to retake Egypt.

In addition to Taharqa’s statue, those of two of his successors – Senkamanisken and Aspelta – were found alongside. These two rulers controlled territory in Sudan, but not Egypt.

. . .

While this is the furthest south that a pharaoh’s statue has been found, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Dangeil is the southern border of Taharqa’s empire. It’s possible that he controlled territory further up the Nile.

The statue of Taharqa is truly monumental. “It’s a symbol of royal power,” said Dr. Anderson, an indicator that Dangeil was an “important royal city.”

It’s made of granite and weighs more than one ton. It stood about 2.6 meters (8.5 feet) when it had its head. In ancient times it was smashed into several pieces on purpose. This was also done to the two other statues. It’s not known who did this or why. It happened “a long time after Taharqa,” said Anderson.

. . .

The largest piece of Taharqa’s statue is the torso and base. This part of the statue is so heavy that the archaeological team had to use 18 men to move it onto a truck.

“We had trouble moving him a couple hundred meters,” said Anderson. The move was “extremely well planned,” with the team spending eight to nine days figuring out how to accomplish it without the statue (or the movers) getting damaged.

The full account from The Independent may be read here. A longer article by Jarus, with several photos, may be found in Heritage Key.

After the Assyrian king Sennacherib captured Lachish, he headed for Jerusalem. On the way he heard that King Tirhakah of Ethiopia (Cush) had come out to fight against him.

The king heard that King Tirhakah of Ethiopia was marching out to fight him. He again sent messengers to Hezekiah, ordering them: “Tell King Hezekiah of Judah this: ‘Don’t let your God in whom you trust mislead you when he says, “Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.” Certainly you have heard how the kings of Assyria have annihilated all lands. Do you really think you will be rescued? (2 Kings 19:9-11 NET; cf. Isaiah 37:9)

Hezekiah was king of Judah from 716/15 – 687/86 B.C. (Thiele). The events recorded in the Bible took place shortly before 700 B.C. Tirhakah evidently came to power before 690 B.C., was already a leading commander of the army, or there may be another solution to the problem.

HT: Biblical Paths.