The scarab beetle was an exceedingly popular symbol in the art of Ancient Egypt, thought to represent the sun god, Ra. The Ancient Egyptians believed that the scarab beetle rolling its ball of dung across the desert mirrored the journey of the sun across the sky from day to night. As the beetle laid its eggs within the dung, it became a symbol of rebirth and regeneration.
An-Ra scarabs were exceedingly popular during the Second Intermediate Period. The signs depicted transliterated as ‘a’, ‘n’, ‘r’ and whilst the combination of signs doesn’t translate as anything in particular, the signs were held in high regard. They were used on objects made of precious metals as well as being used on scarab seals belonging to Second Intermediate and New Kingdom pharaohs. It has been theorised that this particular group were dedicated to the Near Eastern deity El and the Egyptian god Ra.
This particular scarab is most likely dated to the New Kingdom based on the obverse design and the inclusion of rings surrounding the suspension holes.
To find out more about Ancient Egyptian amulets please see our relevant blog post: Egyptian Amulets and their Meanings.