The Cartouche of Rameses III in the Saudi Arabian Desert

By Pamela Laurion

Venturing deep in the Hisma Desert of Saudi Arabia along with a trusty 4-wheeled drive and a good guide one will find an ancient Egyptian military-style camp surrounded by large boulders and rocky mounds. The rocks surrounding the camp are littered with petroglyphs and ancient Thamudic and Sabean inscriptions. Our Bible study tour with Living Passages took us through Saudi Arabia to study Midian and the sites of the Exodus routes that were just Northwest of Tayma and Khaybar. These areas were rich in ancient Jewish settlements.

woman with saudi arabia stone inscriptions
Cartouche of Rameses III

The campsite hosts several graves nestled under a rocky ridge and rock art of animals and hunting scenes. But the jewel of the camp is not these petroglyphs or inscriptions. The central focus of this camp is located along a huge rock wall with what appears to be an Egyptian Cartouche. Upon closer inspection the cartouche is of Rameses III. Surrounded by petroglyphs and hunting scenes the Thamudic inscriptions may pay homage to Rameses III. Along the wall, the images continue but the Cartouche of Rameses III stands alone in identifying the site as Egyptian.

The cartouche of Ramses III stands as Rameses’s signature and tells the reader that Rameses was here at this very location.

When we visited Tayma (the site of the Dead Sea Scroll of Nabonidus) and Midian we were only approximately 2 hours from both Biblically rich locations – Jabal al-Lawz and Midian

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