Skip to comments.Secrets of Egypt: 'Spectacular' archaeological site provides details of ancient life
Posted on 06/12/2011 11:11:01 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
On the edge of Egypt's eastern desert, known to natives as "the red land," Berenike thrived as a trading port for goods from Europe, Asia and southern Arabia. Sidebotham's digs have turned up such varied items as Indian-made pottery and beads, a figurine of Venus, timbers made of cedar from Lebanon, a clay jar containing decorative silver pieces, Roman glass, sapphires and other gems, a mother-of-pearl cross and sliver of Turkish marble used as veneer for walls. One large jar found embedded in the courtyard floor of a temple contained nearly 17 pounds of black peppercorns, which had been imported from India in the first century.
In addition to such objects, the project also has yielded much information about life in and around the city, Sidebotham said. Findings include elephant teeth and what was likely a holding pen for the animals used as ancient military vehicles, artifacts from several religions and a variety of deities and evidence of 12 different written languages including one that is as yet unidentified.
(Excerpt) Read more at udel.edu ...
Berenike and the Ancient Maritime Spice Route
by Steven E. Sidebotham
California World History Library
Romans and Barbarians:
Four Views from the Empire's Edge,
1st Century AD
by Derek Williams
At Empire's Edge:
Exploring Rome's Egyptian Frontier
by Robert B. Jackson
[T]he scenic Myos Hormos Road between the Red Sea and the Nile served as a vital artery through the Eastern Desert. Halfway along its path, in Wadi Hammamat, an astounding collection of graffiti and inscriptions attest to its commercial and political importance... These inscriptions, for example, reveal that Queen Hatshepsut's famous expedition to the land of Punt began along this route to the sea.
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If I were 30ish and single, I would head over there and volunteer. What an adventure.
The adventure is taylor made for healthy seniors! My first wife would get a kick out of digging around in Egypt finding detritus.
It’s a great way (I believe) to help out — it’s archaeological tourism, one pays for everything oneself, is worked like a dog, is generally employed in countries which could blow up at any minute, it’s hot and dry, and one can’t take home anything one finds (unless one contracts typhus from excavating an ancient latrine, for example).
I’d like to try it, but I’m not 30ish any longer. :’)
PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland
U.S. and Polish archaeologists successful at Berenike
Fragments of pottery with inscriptions in one of pre-Islamic languages have been found by a U.S-Polish team of archaeologists near Berenike, a Greco-Roman harbour on the Egyptian Red Sea coast. The finds confirm that Berenike was the most active Red Sea port during Hellenistic and Roman times. Inscriptions and other written materials found in Berenike have been written in 12 different languages. This attests to the cosmopolitan mix of people who lived in or passed through the town.
Berenike was founded by Ptolemy II Philadelphus in 285-246 B.C.
The international team of archaeologists led by professor Steven Sidebotham of the University of Delaware and Iwona Zych of the Warsaw University Mediterranean Archaeology Department have resumed excavation at Berenike after an eight-year break. AT
Archaeologists working at the ancient Red Sea port of Berenike in Egypt have found shards of pottery inscribed in 12 different languages.
The finds confirm that Berenike was the most active Red Sea port during Hellenistic and Roman times. Inscriptions and other written materials found in Berenike have been written in 12 different languages. This attests to the cosmopolitan mix of people who lived in or passed through the town.
Berenike was founded by Ptolemy II Philadelphus in 285-246 B.C. [Sevaan Franks, May 22, 2009]
Carbonized pepper from archeological excavations in Berenike (5. century)[above]
Dehydratized pepper from archeological excavations in Berenike (5. century) [below]
The glass from the site was often well preserved and included rare pieces such as fragments from mythological bowls, painted glass and cased glass as well as numerous more utilitarian pieces. These glasses, along with other finds from the site, give a picture of a thriving and often opulent community based at a port to which came the exotic goods from the Indian Ocean trade.
For part of the year it seems that most of the occupants of Berenike moved inland to the site of Sikkait which may have had a function rather similar to that of Simla under the British Raj, a place of retreat for families and officials during certain periods of the year. The glass from Sikkait is similarly rich, though the scale of excavations at the site has been less than for Berenike. [Dr. Paul Nicholson]
Thank goodness I'm long past 30ish, too; when I was that age, I was dumb enough to have tried it. *<];-')
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