Fragment of Ancient Egyptian goddess found in 2,700-year-old settlement in Spain

Archaeologists excavating a 2,700-year-old Iron Age settlement in Salamanca, Spain, have uncovered a fragment of an Ancient Egyptian goddess.

The team were excavating on the Cerro de San Vicente, one of three hills in Salamanca, where a walled Iron Age settlement was first uncovered in 1990. The settlement covers an area of 3.2 acres, of which archaeologists have so far explored 1000 square metres over the past three decades.

- Advertisement -

In the latest excavation, led by Antonio Blanco and Juan Jesús Padilla from the University of Salamanca, the team uncovered amulets and painted ceramics, featuring motifs of Egyptian or other eastern Mediterranean origins.

The ceramics are part of a glazed ceramic inlay with gold leaf, depicting the goddess Hathor who was worshiped as the consort of the sky god Horus and the sun god Ra, both of whom were connected with kingship, and thus she was the symbolic mother of their earthly representatives, the pharaohs. The pieces form a fragment that is around five centimetres in length, showing the bottom section of the goddess’s hair with her curls plainly visible.

Image Credit : University of Salamanca

Speaking to El Pais, Padilla said: “Each piece was shaped to fit perfectly into its support base. Then, with a kind of resin or adhesive, they were glued into place. We are currently analysing the piece in our laboratory to see if there are any traces of this glue still on the inner surface, to determine what kind of resin was used.”

Archaeologists found the ceramics deliberately placed within the walls of a large rectangular hall (megaron). They were positioned among the adobe blocks and mud grout, along with a shark’s tooth, necklace beads, and a piece of an amphora which is decorated with floral motifs painted in Egyptian blue.

- Advertisement -

How a depiction of Hathor found its way to an Iron Age site in Spain is an enigma. The team suggest that a Phoenician delegation may have brought the artefact as a gift or to trade, however, there is also the possibility that the inhabitants of the settlements had adopted the rites and iconography of far reaching eastern Mediterranean cultures. Both theories are supported by previous excavations, where in 2021 the team also uncovered a blue amulet that also depicts Hathor.

Universidad de Salamanca

Header Image Credit : University of Salamanca


- Advertisement -
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 8,000 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.

Mobile Application


Related Articles

Underwater archaeologists find 112 glassware objects off Bulgaria’s coast

A team of underwater archaeologists from the Regional Historical Museum Burgas have recovered 112 glass objects from Chengene Skele Bay, near Burgas, Bulgaria.

Bronze Age axe found off Norway’s east coast

Archaeologists from the Norwegian Maritime Museum have discovered a Bronze Age axe off the coast of Arendal in the Skagerrak strait.

Traces of Bahrain’s lost Christian community found in Samahij

Archaeologists from the University of Exeter, in collaboration with the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, have discovered the first physical evidence of a long-lost Christian community in Samahij, Bahrain.

Archaeologists uncover preserved wooden elements from Neolithic settlement

Archaeologists have discovered wooden architectural elements at the La Draga Neolithic settlement.

Pyramid of the Moon marked astronomical orientation axis of Teōtīhuacān

Teōtīhuacān, loosely translated as "birthplace of the gods," is an ancient Mesoamerican city situated in the Teotihuacan Valley, Mexico.

Anglo-Saxon cemetery discovered in Malmesbury

Archaeologists have discovered an Anglo-Saxon cemetery in the grounds of the Old Bell Hotel in Malmesbury, England.

Musket balls from “Concord Fight” found in Massachusetts

Archaeologists have unearthed five musket balls fired during the opening battle of the Revolutionary War at Minute Man National Historical Park in Concord, United States.

3500-year-old ritual table found in Azerbaijan

Archaeologists from the University of Catania have discovered a 3500-year-old ritual table with the ceramic tableware still in...