Egypt’s new twin digs


In Egypt, a French-Egyptian mission discovered another ancient structure in the area of Ain Sokhna, about 120 km southeast of Cairo. The rectangular building with an interior hall dates back to the Middle Kingdom (ca. 1665-2061 BC), and surrounds nine galleries and three narrow passages.

Dr. Zahi Hawass, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), said that the archaeological team has been working at the site since 1999, when they found the remains of a Middle Kingdom settlement. This settlement was an important logistical center which served a variety of functions.

This year, excavations in the galleries led the team to a collection of clay vessels bearing the names of kings of the Fourth and Fifth Dynasties, as well as large cedar planks and ropes from boats used to cross the Gulf of Suez to Sinai, where turquoise and copper were mined.

George Castle, the head of the French team, said that other important installations linked to these expeditions were found on the site, including a natural promontory by the sea. The remains of many successive occupation were found, the most important of which dates to the Old Kingdom. A square building that seems to have been the center of the original complex was also found.

In another development, a group of stone architectural remains traced back to the First Intermediate Period (ca. 2190-2016 BC) has been uncovered at Ehnasya El-Medina in Beni Suef Governorate during routine excavations carried out by the Spanish archaeological mission sponsored by the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid.

Hawass said that excavations in the courtyard of the temple of the god Heryshef had revealed part of a column drum; inside the hypostyle hall the Spanish team discovered Rames-side inscriptions and part of a false door.

Carmen Perez-Die, the head of the mission, said that on the western side of the First Intermediate Period necropolis located near the temple, a complete false door from an unidentified tomb was unearthed. The team also found burned false doors and offering tables, along with the remains of human skeletons in very poor condition. On the eastern side of the cemetery, two individual burials containing well-preserved skeletons were excavated.