Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New discovery in Qantara West highlights exact date of Tel Al-Dafna site

Lava remains of San Turin volcano unearthed in Tel Al-Dafna archaeological site, west of Al-Ismailiya governorate

By Nevine El-Aref , Wednesday 30 Dec 2015

During excavation work carried out at Tel Al-Dafna archaeological site located at Al-Qantara west area, 11 kilometres west of the Suez Canal, an Egyptian archaeological mission led by Egyptologist Mohamed Abdel Maqsoud stumbled upon what is believed to be Lava remains of San Turin volcano.
The volcano is considered to be the first destructive environmental phenomena from the Mediterranean in antiquity to hit Cyprus.

Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty described the discovery as “very important” because it would help in uncovering more history from the Tel Al-Dafna site.

The oldest archaeological evidence discovered in Tel Al-Dafna dates back to the ancient Egyptian 26th dynasty although the lava remains can be dated to an era before the 26th dynasty.

At the same site, Abdel Maqsoud told Ahram Online that the mission has also uncovered a part of a fortified island surrounded with mud and brick shields used as wave breakers as well as protecting the west side of King Psamtiak I’s citadel from floods.

Maqsoud continued to say that the citadel was built in such an area to protect the country’s eastern gate from any invasion. Its fence area is 20 metres thick and inside it houses a collection of fortified residential houses.

In addition to the citadel, King Psamtiak I built two other forts- one found in the Marya area on the north coast to protect the country from Libyan invasion. The second one is located in Elephantine Island in the Upper Egyptian city of Aswan to stand against the then Ethiopian threat.

Abdel Maqsoud pointed out that a collection of mastaba remains, the ruins of industrial workshops, ovens used in dismantling metals, and baking bread were also found.

A collection of fish and crocodile fossils was also unearthed.

Head of the ancient Egyptian antiquities department Mahmoud Afifi told Ahram Online that excavation works at Tel Al-Dafna site are being carried out by the antiquities ministry in collaboration with housing and defence ministries, as well as with the Sinai construction authority.

The work comes within the framework of the development of archaeological sites along the 30 June Mehwar (corridor). This section of Tel Al-Dafna excavation work is in its third phase.

Until now, Afifi added, in addition to Tel Al-Dafna work, another area of 2300m, of 100m width, has been totally excavated and was empty of any archaeological evidence.

Afifi highlighted that the Tel Dafna site is one of five archaeological sites selected on Egypt’s eastern gate to be developed within the project of Egypt’s military history panorama and the development of archaeological sites along the Suez Canal.

These sites are Tel-Habwa, Tel-Abu-Saify, Pelusium, and Tel Al-Maskhouta.

Eldamaty expressed his strong appreciation for the Egyptian excavation mission working at the site because it helped in the discovery of many important sites. He further explained that they would help research and study on the Pelusium branch of the Nile and the archaeological sites on the Nile banks that have not yet been revealed.


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