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Date: CIR 700 BCE.
Ancient Egypt New Kingdom Steatite Scarab, a beautiful steatite scarab with no glaze, showing hieroglyphs on bottom.
Scarabs were popular amulets in ancient Egypt. According to ancient Egyptian myths, the sun rolls across the sky each day and transforms bodies and souls. Modeled upon the Scarabaeidae family dung beetle, which rolls dung into a ball for the purposes of eating and laying eggs that are later transformed into larva, the scarab was seen as an earthly symbol of this heavenly cycle. This came to be iconographic, and ideological symbols were incorporated into ancient Egyptian society. Beginning in the Old Kingdom of ancient Egypt, memorializing scarabs became common. They were found as amulets, talismans, jewelry types, or gifts of affection. They were also often incorporated into tombs as grave goods.To the ancient Egyptians, the scarab or dung beetle was a protector of written products. The scarab was also used as a holder or medium for personal name seals. A figurine of a scarab would be carved out of stone, and then on the smooth stomach of the scarab, the engraving of a seal was made. Later, this oval image was used for the representation of the cartouche, or name/title seals. Miniature scarab seals were carried, or kept in the later periods of Ancient Egypt. They often had "catch phrases"; for example: "A mun-my-Strength". (A mun-my-Rock)