According to the news reports, Egyptian archaeologists have firmly identified a fort at Tell Heboua (ancient Tharu / Tjaru) as the Egyptian Army Headquarters in the Sinai from ca. 1500 BC to the Ptolemaic period. It’s 500 metres (547 yards) by 250 metres, with towers four metres high.
The identification follows last year’s announcement of the finding of the site.
“The fortress and adjoining town, which they identify with the ancient place name Tharu, lies in the Sinai peninsula about 3 km (2 miles) northeast of the modern town of Qantara, Egyptian archaeologist Mohamed Abdel Maksoud told Reuters. The town sat at the start of a military road joining the Nile Valley to the Levant, parts of which were under Egyptian control for much of the period”
– Reuters Africa
“The ancient military road, known as “Way of Horus,” once connected Egypt to Palestine and is close to present-day Rafah, which borders the Palestinian territory of Gaza.”
– Associated Press
According to the statement from the Egyptian government’s Supreme Council for Antiquities, the identification has been secured on the basis of various inscriptions found this year at Tharu. The inscriptions mention three Pharaohs—Tuthmosis II, who ruled from about 1512 BC and who built one of the military installations along the route, Seti I and Ramses II, who between them ruled Egypt from 1318 to 1237 BC. The photo is of one of these newly released inscriptions, and another photo is included below.
“”The archaeological features of this fort confirm the inscriptions on ancient Egyptian temples showing the shape of the city of Tharu, which lay at the start of the Horus military road,” the statement added. The statement said the site contains the first New Kingdom temple ever found in northern Sinai, and warehouses where the ancient Egyptian army stored grain and weapons, as well as ovens, seals and earthenware vessels.”
– Reuters Africa
“A collection of reliefs belonging to King Ramses II and King Seti I (1314-1304 B.C.) were also unearthed with rows of warehouses used by the ancient Egyptian army during the New Kingdom era to store wheat and weapons, he [Archaeologist Mohammed Abdel-Maqsoud, chief of the excavation team] said. Abdel-Maqsoud said the new discoveries corresponded to the inscriptions of the Way of Horus found on the walls of the Karnak Temple in Luxor which illustrated the features of 11 military fortresses that protected Egypt’s eastern borders. Only five of them have been discovered to date.”
– Associated Press
Apparently the inscriptions mention Tharu. See:
Tharu has sometimes been identified with biblical Succoth (the setting for the legendary first stop by the ‘Children of Israel’ after leaving Rameses). This depends on the particular reconstruction of the route from the books of Exodus and Numbers. The news stories haven’t got onto this angle, yet. They will, though …
“Over a century ago, Max Müller recognized the importance of Tjaru [Tharu] in ancient Egypt and realized that it must have played a role in the movement of the Israelites; he declared that “no town of the eastern Delta frontier has a greater importance than Tharu [i.e. Tjaru], which was not only its largest town, but also the principle point for the defense of the entrance to Egypt, therefore also for the military and mercantile roads to the East.” He also felt that the route of the exodus could not be fixed with any certainty until Tjaru was positively located.”
– James K. Hoffmeier, Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition, 1997: 184.