In 2013 archaeologists uncovered what has since been called ‘the greatest discovery in Egypt in the 21st century’: hundreds of papyrus fragments dating to the last years of King Khufu’s reign (c.2500 BC) at the oldest harbour in Egypt, a site on the Red Sea coast called Wadi al-Jarf. 

Excavations, led by Pierre Tallet and Gregory Marouard, began in 2011. Work had been ongoing along the coast for some years with the goal of learning more about ancient Egyptian trade with the mysterious land of Punt and of expeditions to Sinai for copper and turquoise extraction. The team excavated drystone buildings, a worker’s camp, kilns and 30 storage galleries cut up to 30m into the hillside. These galleries held lengths of rope, wooden boat parts and ceramic storage jars. Each was used by a single boat, allowing it to be dismantled and stored safely, sealed at the entrance by a large stone block. A long, L-shaped stone jetty, still visible at low tide, stretches out into the sea, creating a sheltered dock where more than 21 stone anchors were found in situ. Some of these are inscribed with short hieroglyphic texts that may be the names of boats.


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Created on Jun 17, 2020
By @gurlic
Administered by: @gilgamesh