The vast land of Egypt was ruled by powerful pharaohs. But then they lost control of their fertile land to Hyksos roughly 3600 years ago. These invading forces seized the northern Egypt from incompetent pharaohs, banishing them to a small chunk of land in the south. An isotopic study of the region supports a different theory. The new rulers descended from various Asiatic populations who had been living in Egypt for generations. So the rise of Hyksos was not a foreign invasion, but an immigrant uprising.
This study was based on the strontium isotopes found at the archaeological site. These isotopes can enter our food and water supply and end up in our bones and teeth. Different areas have different ratios of two strontium isotopes – Sr-86 and Sr-87 – which means that growing up along the Nile river shows in your teeth. Researchers compared isotope ratios among locals of northern Egypt and the non-local Hyksos and found the signature of the Nile in both. After a century or so, the pharaohs took back ‘their’ land from the Hyksos sending them elsewhere in search for other land. The north-eastern Nile Delta represented a multicultural hub long before the Hyksos rule. Isotopic analysis suggests most people were non-locals, hailing not from a unified homeland but an international influx. The study was published in PLOS One.