Ancient ship remains are unearthed at Egyptian Red Sea port
Jan 26, 2006, 17:28 GMT
Cairo - The remains of a ship used by ancient Egyptians for commercial trips to the fabled land of Punt have been discovered in five caves engraved in a port on the Red Sea.
The find, in the Marsa Gawasees area near the Red Sea resort of Safaga, dates back to the Middle Kingdom and was excavated by a joint American and Italian team from Boston University and East Naples working in the area for five years, it was reported Thursday.
Higher Antiquities Council Secretary-general Zahi Hawwas called the find one of the most important marine excavations that confirms that Punt lay to the south of Egypt and not in Sinai as previously believed.
As early as the third millennium BCE, Egyptian inscriptions indicate that they traded with people from the land of Punt, which sometimes they also called 'Gods' Land'.
The discovery included a huge amount of ropes and masts that were used at different stages of ship building in addition to ship wooden parts and thick cedar logs, Hawwas said.
He added that all pieces were in good condition and had been transferred to a storehouse in preparation for renovation.
Sabri Abdel Aziz, head of the Egyptian Monuments Sector said that the excavation team also found remains of wooden boxes, one of which was marked by the phrase 'The wonders of Punt,' that encloses products from Punt and a cartouche holding the name of king Amnemhat III. Beside these boxes, the team found clay pieces on which were seals dating back to the 12th Dynasty.
Mohammed Mostafa, an archeologist who specializes in marine archeology, said that in one of the caves, the team also found a mural on which was engraved the five names of Amnemhat III and was well-preserved and a large number of ropes.© 2006 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur