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Near the banks of the Nile, in southern Egypt, in 1896, British archaeologist Flinders Petrie, leads an excavation in Thebes, the ancient city of the dead.

Here, he unearths one of the most important discoveries in biblical archaeology.

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From beneath the sand, appears the corner of a royal monument, carved in stone.

Dedicated in honor of Pharaoh Merneptah, son of Ramesses the Great, it became known as the Merneptah Stele. Most of the hieroglyphic inscription celebrates Merneptah's triumph over Libya, his enemy to the West, but almost as an afterthought, he mentions his conquest of people to the East, in just two lines.

This archeological detective story tackles some of the biggest questions in biblical studies: Where did the ancient Israelites come from? How did the worship of one God—the foundation of modern Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—emerge?

In addition to the Editors' Picks at left, see the original program website for more related features.

Their source has long been a subject of fascination and considerable controversy.

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