For centuries, it was believed the city of Tanis was nothing more than a legend. Many people had doubts that it ever really existed. But that all changed when researchers who Napoleon Bonaparte brought to Egypt re-discovered the legendary city.
Many ancient monuments were still covered with sand when Napoleon went to Egypt. The researchers who accompanied Bonaparte’s army were there before Egyptology was a discipline. Wherever they went they uncovered statues, precious artifacts, and buildings. Several of their finds became important artifacts in museum collections across Europe. One of the team’s main goals was to find artifacts which could start the collection of the newly created museum known as the Louvre. Despite the impressive finds they made, they didn't recognize Tanis – all they knew was that it was an ancient city full of treasures.
The ruins of Tanis. (Public Domain)
Searching for the City’s Name
The first person who made an official excavation in Tanis was Auguste Mariette, who was at the site between 1860 and 1864. However, he didn't know the name of the city either. Although he unearthed many beautiful relics including the famous Four Hundred Year Stella, royal statues from the Middle Kingdom, and countless items of pottery and other small artifacts, he couldn't identify the place he worked in. He believed that it could have been Hyksos, the capital of Avaris or Pi-Ramesses. He wasn’t far from the truth with his second guess…
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