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Ancient Egyptian visit to IWM Duxford?

Scarab beetle etching.IWM Duxford has been visited by a wide range of people from a diverse set of countries over its 90-year history. It has recently come to our attention, however, that the first foreign visit to our little piece of South Cambridgeshire countryside may have been much earlier than we previously suspected.

Archaeological work undertaken on site in the last few weeks has revealed a remarkable man-made carving, only 64 feet from the entrance to Hangar 2: Flying Aircraft. As shown in the photograph, the carving depicts a scarab beetle, or scarabee. It is etched into what appears to be some form of conglomerate rock or breccia.

We know how important the scarab beetle was in ancient Egypt. It represented rebirth, and as a symbol is found in many places throughout the ancient world. The striking resemblance to similar carvings in North Africa allows us to date this piece to circa 1300 BCE.

Whoever completed this carving must have been extraordinarily firm of purpose, and very skilful. It has survived for what could be as much as 3,000 years – many of these surely in its present location.

If you have any information that could help us find out how this incredible artefact came to be here, we’d love to hear from you. We’ve already had some rather outlandish explanations as to how it arrived – including via a meteor!

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