The mummy of Merneptah was discovered in 1898 along with eighteen other mummies in the tomb of Amenhotep II, although it is believed that Merneptah was originally buried in the Valley of the Kings. The mummy was unwrapped and identified in Cairo by Dr. G. Elliott Smith on July 8, 1907.

Merneptah ruled Egypt ca. 1212–1202 BCE, succeeding his father Ramesses II (the Great). The Ramesside Dynasties (19th and 20th by Manetho’s count), to which Merneptah belonged, reinvigorated the New Kingdom by making grandiose territorial expansions. To secure their economic role in trade with Syro-Palestine and Mesopotamia, if not to simply spread their dominion and power, the Ramesside Pharaohs pushed northward along the Via Maris, conquering the Canaanite towns that guarded the route.

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Stelae and Reliefs of Pharaoh Merneptah, c. 1207 BCE.