The Israel Stela
JE 31408 (CG 34025) Cairo Antiquities Museum
Material: Grey Granite
Size: Height 318 cm; Width 163 cm; Depth 31 cm
Location: West of Thebes, Funerary Temple of Merneptah
Excavation: W.M.F. Petrie's Excavations of 1896
Period: 19th Dynasty, Reign of Merneptah (1224-1214 BC)
This stela ranks as one of the best known, and in some respects, one of the most important discovered in ancient Egypt. It once stood in the first courtyard of the funerary temple of Merneptah, the son of Ramesses the Great. The material for it was reused from one of Amenhotep III's funerary monuments, and only used the reverse side, leaving intact the text of Amenhotep III. The side used by Merneptah lists a number of enemies that Merneptah claims victory over, but significantly includes the earliest mention of the nation of Israel.