An Egyptian farmer near Ismailia has recently discovered an ancient royal tablet while plowing his fields. The location of the field is about 60 miles from Cairo. The Egyptian Antiquities Ministry has shared images of the large tablet, also known as a stela, on social media. However, we don’t yet know what the hieroglyphics say.

Egyptian farming village
Via: Mmelouk/Wiki Commons

The tablet dates back to the reign of Apries (also known as Wahibre Haaibre or Hophre), a pharaoh who ruled from 589 BC to 570 BC. The stela is 91 inches long, 41 inches wide, and 18 inches thick. The massive tablet is made from sandstone.

The 2,600-year-old tablet is inscribed with what might be the sign for the sun-god, Ra, followed by the royal seal of Apries. Under the seals are 15 lines of hieroglyphic writing, but what the tablet says is still being investigated. So far researchers think the stela may have something to do with Apries’ military campaigns to the East.

Apries was subject to a mutiny after a massive failure on the battlefield against the Phoenician army. His throne was left open after he traveled away from Egypt to seek asylum. Amasis II, a popular Egyptian general, then succeeded the throne in 570. It remains unclear exactly when and how Apries died. Some say he was killed in battle, while others claim that when he returned his own mutinous subjects strangled and mauled him to death.

stela depicting Apries offering land
Stela depicting Apries offering land to the goddess, Bastet. Gifted to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1904. Via: Metropolitan Museum of Art

The stela has been transported to the Ismailia Museum for further study and research. Hopefully once the stela is translated it can shed some light on the reign of Apries and his military conquests.