Dienstag, 24.04.2018 20:21 Uhr

An Italian discovery in Tell el-Maskhuta, Egypt

Verantwortlicher Autor: Carlo Marino Rome, 19.12.2017, 09:12 Uhr
Nachricht/Bericht: +++ Kunst, Kultur und Musik +++ Bericht 6619x gelesen

Rome [ENA] The Italian mission affiliated with the National Research Council of Italy’s Institute of Ancient Mediterranean Studies (CNR) has recently discovered imposing walls from a fortress located on Egypt's Canal of the Pharaohs, in Tell el-Maskhuta. That makes the site nowadays one of the largest fortresses on the Nile Delta and most likely the best maintained from the age before that of ancient Rome.

The discovery was made public recently by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities. Tell el-Maskhuta is situated northeast of Cairo, along the Ismailia Canal. The site called Tell el-Maskhuta, was probably the site of Biblical Pithom, difficult to locate, and many historians agree this might be it. Pithom would be rendered in ancient Egyptian as Per-Atum, and records of the New Kingdom confirm it was a real city. However, on archaeological grounds Tell el-Maskhuta appears to have seen little activity or occupation in the New Kingdom, so it’s not clear if this is actually the correct site.

The Italian excavation mission discovered the remains of two fortresses that date back to the ancient Egyptian Late Period in Tell el- Maskhuta area located in Wadi al-Tamilat, 15 kilometres west of the city of Ismailia. According to a press release of the Italian Mission Head the eastern fort is 12 metres wide and 4 metres deep. The mission discovered that it was built on the ruins of the Hyksos era and can be traced to the 26th Dynasty.

The fortresses were most likely military ones and their walls are built of mud bricks and supported by defensive towers as this was the usual architectural plan for military forts at that time. The walls represent a different defensive structure of gigantic proportions.The discovery is significant because it adds to the history of military architecture in Egypt, particularly as one of the fortresses leads to the eastern entrance of Egypt, and as Tell el-Maskhuta represents an extraordinary model of ancient Egyptian fortresses east of the Nile.

In the 1800s the existence of a large quadrangular walled city was already known but had never been well-documented. The wall was already partially visible just for a brief stretch at the beginning of the excavation. The excavation, titled "Multidisciplinary Egyptological Mission", as before mentioned, is being conducted by Italian CNR's Institute of Ancient Mediterranean Studies, which has been working at the site for some years with the cooperation of the Egyptian Institute for Applied Technologies in Cultural Heritage.

The site is in "Wadi Tumilat", a valley that was a very ancient route linking Egypt and the Levant, between the land of the pharaohs and Palestine, Syria, up to Mesopotamia. At the site there are also signs of a settlement of Hyksos, foreigners who dominated part of Egypt more than 3,500 years ago. This is the settlement upon which the successive fortress is positioned. A study of ceramics found at the site suggests that the disclosed structure was added to the previous one in the Ptolemaic era (3rd-1st century B.C.).

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