IN THE 18TH DYNASTY IN WESTERN ASIA AND NUBIA1
James K. Hoffmeier
One of the most fascinating periods of Near Eastern history is the liberation of Egypt from “Hyksos” control, the beginnings of Egypt's New Kingdom or Empire period, and the concomitant Middle BronzeLate Bronze transition in Canaan. That a military presence of some kind played a central role in Egypt's relationship to the Levant is well recognized, but often over-emphasized to the exclusion of other aspects of Egypt's foreign policy. Furthermore, there is a tendency among scholars interested in Syro-Palestinian history and archaeology to forget that Egypt had a second major theater of operation in LB I, viz. Nubia. The purpose of this paper is to explore some of the oft forgotten aspects of Egypt's foreign policy in Western Asia, concentrating on the period 1550–1400 B.C. Additionally, the differences between Egypt's foreign policy with Nubia and with the Levant
1 It is with great pleasure that I present this paper to my teacher, mentor, and
friend, Dr. Donald B. Redford on this special occasion. He was my professor in
a number of courses, both in the areas of Egyptian history and Egyptian texts. My
interest in the subject presented in this paper grew directly out of his classes and
reading some of these texts together. Additionally, Dr. Redford was gracious enough
to include me on the East Karnak excavations of the Akhenaten Temple Project in
1975 and 1977. So I am also indebted to him for teaching me how to excavate in
Egypt. Additionally, between 1980 and 1982 he was a reader for my dissertation.
Finally, he was the one who encouraged me to excavate in North Sinai when the salvage operation began in the 1980s in connection with the As-Salam irrigation
project. While I only touch on our discoveries at Tell el-Borg from the 2000 and
2001 seasons, they have much to say about Egypt's defense system during the 18th
Dynasty. My heart felt thanks to Donald Redford for his encouragement and sup-
port over the past 30 years.
This paper is an updated and reworked version of one that I presented at the Midwest Regional Meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research and Society
of Biblical Literature, 17 February 1997 at Wheaton College and at the American
research Center in Egypt Annual Meeting at UCLA, 25 April 1998. In the final
editing of this work, I received a copy of Ellen Morris' dissertation, The Architecture of
Imperialism: An Investigation into the Role of Fortresses and Administrative Headquarters in New
Kingdom Policy (University of Pennsylvania, 2001). Unfortunately, time did not allow
me to interact with this substantial study.