Greco-Roman Remains Along the Suez Canal

From Al-Ahram:

An Egyptian excavation mission from the Ministry of State for Antiquities (MSA) uncovered on Thursday a complete industrial area that can be dated to the Graeco-Roman era.

The discovery was found during routine excavation work at the archaeological site of Tell Abu-Seifi, located east of the Suez Canal and south of Qantara East.

The industrial area includes of a number of workshops for clay and bronze statues, vessels, pots and pans as well as a collection of administrative buildings, store galleries and a whole residential area for labours. Amphora, imported from south of Italy, was also unearthed.

“It is a very important discovery that highlights Egypt’s economical and commercial relation with its neighbouring countries on the Mediterranean Sea,” MSA Minister Mohamed Ibrahim told Ahram Online. He added that it also gives a complete idea of the Egyptian labours’ daily life.

For his part, Mohamed Abdel Maqsoud, supervisor of the excavation mission, pointed out that among the newly discovered objects is a very important Roman engraving that provides detailed information on the military importance of Tell Abu-Seifi and the army divisions in this area.

Tell Abu-Seifi is one of the most important historical military sites of Egypt on the Al-Bilozi Nile branch, where three Ptolemaic and Roman military castles are located.

The archaeological site of Tell Abu-Seifi is found on Egypt’s eastern gate, where a great military group was once located, Abdel Maqsoud told Ahram Online in a telephone interview.

The newly discovered engraving shows how and where soldiers were divided and distributed in different locations inside the castles, he explained.

A collection of bronze coins dated to the eras of King Ptolemy II and IV were also unearthed as well as terracotta (burned clay) statues of the god of war Bes.

This discovery came within the framework of routine excavations along the Belozi Nile branch, which is now non-existant, to discover the Horus Ancient Military Road once used by King Ahmose to expel the Hyksos.

Abdel Maqsoud pointed out that Egypt’s MSA is applying a new training system for junior archaeologists and approximately 200 have joined the excavation mission to train them in excavations and restorations.

Until now, our mission has trained 600 archaeologists in five years, Abdel Maqsoud concluded.

… the original article has a couple of photos/slides of the industrial area and the little terracotta Bes …

Recent Finds from Heraklion

A bit vague … from Greek Reporter:

A series of important archaeological findings has gradually been unearthed by the sunken submarine research in the Heraklion port located in ancient Egypt, the last years, according to announcements made at an international scientific conference at the University of Oxford.

The coastal city on the delta of the Nile, called Heraklion by Greeks, and Thomis by Egyptians, was an important gateway to Egypt during the first millennium BC, while now having sunk, it is located approximately 6.5 km from the coast. According to the latest evidence, before the founding of Alexandria, it was one of the greatest commercial hubs in the Mediterranean.

Researchers of the Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology (OCMA), in collaboration with the European Institute of Underwater Archaeology (IEASM) and the Department of Antiquities of Egypt have been conducting underwater researches in the region since 2000, and every year new data comes to light.

‘Surveys have revealed a huge submerged landscape with remains of at least two major ancient settlements in a part of the Nile, where natural and artificial navigable channels intersected’ Dr. Damien Robinson, director of the Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology said.

Excavations in the Heraklion area have brought to light many findings including, as stated by the researcher of Oxford, Elizabeth van der Vilt, weights from ancient Athens.

Another Oxford researcher, Sandra Heids, has examined more than 300 statues and amulets, dating from the Late and Ptolemaic period depicting Egyptian and Greek figures. Like the ships, these findings have also been maintained in excellent condition and most of them depict deities such as Osiris, Isis and Horus.

According to the researchers, such statuettes and amulets were massively produced, mostly for Egyptians, though several of them were purchased by foreign visitors as well (traders, etc), who used to devote them to several churches in their countries.

… the conference was a week or so ago; perhaps we’ll be hearing more …