Here is some exciting archaeological news that seems to have gotten overlooked; so far I have only seen it mentioned in the blog Luxor Times Magazine. The tomb of Sobekhotep I, first pharaoh of ancient Egypt’s XIII dynasty, has been found in an unexpected location – near Abydos, in Upper Egypt. We know very little about the XIII dynasty, the period when I believe the oppression of the Hebrews and the Exodus took place, so this could help fill in a gap in Egyptian history.
One thing we do know is that Sobek, the ancient Egyptian crocodile god, was popular in the late XII and XIII dynasties; Sobekhotep means “Sobek is Content.” This was because Crocodilopolis, a city in the Faiyum region (about 60 miles southwest of modern Cairo), was an important administrative center during this time, and the home city of the crocodile god. A canal from the Nile was dug during the XII dynasty to irrigate the Faiyum, and some XII dynasty pharaohs were buried in pyramids built here.
Abydos contains a major temple and cemetery, but not from this period. The other pharaohs buried at Abydos are mostly from dynasties I & II, at least a thousand years earlier. Perhaps Sobekhotep I was feeling nostalgic? Ahmose I, the first pharaoh of the XVIII dynasty, built a small pyramid here (the last pyramid built for a pharaoh), but I don’t think he ever used it; his mummy was found with forty other royal mummies at DB320, a tomb near the entrance to the Valley of the Kings.