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The city of Avaris was the capital of the Hyksos kingdom.

Early Settlement

The earliest settlement at the site refers to a foundation from a king of the Herakleopolitan Period, just preceding Egypt's 11th dynasty.

12th Dynasty Settlement

Further references situated to the south of deviation of the Pelusiac branch of the Nile river are then are attributed to Amenemhet I, the first king of the 12th Dynasty. The city centre was located within a settlement area that covered an area of approximately 12 square km that stretched from Qantir to Ez Gayel. Two deviations of the Pelusaic branch of the Nile enclose part of the settlement. To the north, an opening in the Nile made way for the land road from northern Sinai: 'Homs Road'. This road joined these settlements together. The road and the sea route from the Nile Delta then met, being controlled by the cities of Avaris and Piramesse.

Following this, settlers from the Levant - perhaps in the form of a labourer's camp, can be demonstrated. The next significant anthropological and archaeological evidence towards the end of the 12th Dynasty from an adjacent site at Tell El-Daba then indicates that many settlers from Canaan lived there, although they were highly Egyptianised. All of this evidence aligns significantly for the Biblical description of Hebrew settlement in Egypt following the time of Joseph and before the time of Moses and the Hyksos invasion.

12th Dynasty Burials

There also exists a disproportionate number of infant burials in both Avaris and Tel el-Maskhuta (Pithom). The Egyptian document 'Admonitions of Ipuwer' refers to this, mentioning 3 times that infants were slaughtered and women avoided pregnancy. This corresponds to Exodus 1 with the death of the Hebrew/Asiatic children. Furthermore, Avaris demonstrates an epidemic. Mass burials took place in uncharacteristically un-Egyptian style. The city was white-washed by the priests. Later papyrus refer to the “Asiatic plague”, as though the Asiatics/Hebrews caused this plague to occur.

12th Dynasty Migration

Both Avaris and Tel el-Maskhuta show massive loss of population, mass migration and loss of their labor force. Migration at Tel el-Maskhuta was hurried, everything portable was taken. Although this poor community were wealthy, they left much of it (including jewellery) on the ground. In Exodus 3:22, Israel plundered the Egyptians.

Hyksos Dynasty Settlement

After this period, the Hyksos rulers developed settlements at further locations surrounding the area. Many Aegean artifacts have been uncovered a Hyksos temple. Minoans may have also settled in this area at a similar period.