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Serabit el-Khadem (Egypt)


Definition: The archaeological site of Serabit el-Khadem is on the Sinai peninsula, on a small plateau north of the modern town of al-Tor. The site is famous for its enormous turquoise mines, exploited by the Egyptians during the Old Kingdom for use in sculpting scarabs and in powdered form as paint and faience enamel.

Serabit el-Khadem is also the site of Hathor's Temple, dated to the 12th Dynasty. Petrie excavated at the site in the first decade of the 20th century, and there he found evidence of the first earliest alphabetic inscriptions called proto-Sinaitic script, recording the names of Semitic workers and labor.


Petrie, William Flinders. 1906. Researches in Sinai. Entire document available on the web for free.

Phillips, Wendell 1948 Recent discoveries in the Egyptian Faiyum and Sinai. Science 107:666-670.

This glossary entry is part of the Dictionary of Archaeology.

Alternate Spellings: Serabit al-Khadim

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