August 26, 2010

Evidence Of Settlement Found In Kharga Oasis

Egypt's Ministry of Culture announced Wednesday that archaeologists have unearthed the remains of a 3,500-year-old trading settlement in one of the country's desert oases that predates earlier cities by a thousand years.

The Yale University mission discovered the ancient settlement in Umm El-Kharga Oasis, one of Egypt's five western deserts, located around 375 miles south of Cairo. The university found the site while working to map ancient routes in the western desert.

The settlement lies along what used to be busy caravan routes connecting the Nile Valley of Egypt with the western oasis and stretching to Darfur in Sudan, according to a statement from the Supreme Council of Antiquities. The site reached its peak during the late Middle Kingdom -- 1786 to 1665 BC.

Remnants of an ancient bakery were found, including two ovens and a potter's wheel used to make ceramic bread moulds for baking bread. The finding suggests the site was a major food center, said mission leader John Darnell.


Image Caption: View of an excavated bakery at the settlement (Photo: courtesy of expedition)


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