Archaeologists unearth largest fortress in Egypt’s eastern Delta

July 15th, 2009 - 4:44 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, July 15 (ANI): Egyptian archaeologists digging near the Suez Canal have discovered the remains of what is believed to be the largest fortress in the eastern Delta.

According to a report in Discovery News, the remains, located at the site of Tell Dafna, between El-Manzala Lake and the Suez Canal, remains reveal the foundation of a military town about 15 kilometers northeast of the city of western Qantara.

“The fortress covers an area of about 380 by 625 meters (1,247 by 2,051 feet), while the enclosure wall is about 13 meters (43 feet) in width,” Mohamed Abdel Maksoud, head of the Central Department of Lower Egyptian Antiquities and the director of the mission, said in a statement.

Tell Dafna was long known to be a strategic outpost against Egypt’s enemies.

King Ramesses II of the 19th Dynasty (1279-1212 B.C.) chose the site to erect a fortress. King Psammetichus I, the first ruler of the 26th Dynasty (664-625 B.C.), later established a garrison of foreign mercenaries to defend the eastern borders of Egypt from invaders.

Dating to the 7th century BC, the foundations unearthed by the archaeologists most likely belonged to Psammetichus I’s fortified garrison town.

First excavated in 1886 by the English Egyptologist Flinders Petrie, who recognized it as Psammetichus I’s camp for Greek mercenaries, the desert site has since been flattened by wind erosion, which left the archaeological remains originally unearthed by Petrie barely visible.

“The new fieldwork at the site by Egypt’s Supreme Council for Antiquities is most valuable at this time, particularly in that it is rescuing one of the sites of the Delta endangered by development and environmental factors,” Jeffrey Spencer, Deputy Keeper at the British Museum’s department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan, told Discovery News. (ANI)

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