"Ptolemaic gold mines and Roman fortresses in the Eastern desert of Egypt: new research on Abbad, Ghozza and Deir el-Atrash" by Thomas Faucher (Centre d’études alexandrines, CNRS)
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This event will be hybrid. A link will be circulated prior to the lecture.
Date: Friday, June 10, 2022
Time: 10:00 am EST
Location: LI 310 (Lillian Massey Building)
Abstract: Since 1994, the Mission archéologique française du désert Oriental (MAFDO) conducts, a month a year, excavations between the Nile and the Red Sea. If the research led by its first director, Hélène Cuvigny, was mostly focused on the study of the establishment of the Roman road and the facilities related to it, the new direction in 2013 decided to drive its study on the exploitation of the Eastern desert during the Ptolemaic period. The concurrent presence of gold mines and of a fortress in the district of Samut helped to reconsider the involvement of the Ptolemies in this specific region of Egypt, both for the exploitation of the mining resources and the establishment of the road leading to the Red Sea ports. The research conducted on the fort of Abbad confirmed the dates of implementation of the road and its abandonment, presumably during the Theban uprising at the very end of third century BC. Administrative and strategic reasons led the team to move back to the north of the region, in a zone already studied by the mission in its early days. The choice of the mining district of Ghozza, located between Qena and Safaga, gave us the chance to reconcile the study of the Ptolemaic and Roman periods. Indeed, if the surrounding mines were mostly exploited during the Ptolemaic period, the site also consists in a fortress built in the Early Roman times, in connection with the Porphyrites quarries. The locality, named Berkou (Βερκου), offers an interesting opportunity to study the area on the long-term since the occupation of the district runs from the New Kingdom at least until the Islamic period. To complement our excavations and surveys in the area, the team took advantage of the presence of the fortress of Deir el-Atrash, in the vicinity (IInd-Vth c. AD) to complete its diachronic study on the region.
Keywords : Egypt, Eastern Desert, Gold mines, Ptolemies, Early Roman period