The presence of Hebrews in Egypt prior to their departure is a key component in the Exodus story, leading to the eventual formation of the Israelite nation and the subsequent settlement of Canaan. However, skepticism about the historical validity of the Exodus story has spread through both academia and the general public over the last century. One of the key problems for asserting the Exodus narrative as historical has to do with the supposed lack of archaeological confirmation for Hebrews living in Egypt.
Heliopolis (the Greek name for the city), or iwnw (the ancient Egyptian name for the city), was the capital of the 13th nome (district) of ancient Egypt, dating back to the time of Narmer and the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt. The Egyptian name of the city, perhaps pronounced Aonu or Awenu, means “pillar.” This city name likely originated from the Egyptian creation epic stating that Heliopolis was the location of the original mound of creation which arose out of the primordial waters.