A wall in Avaris and other news

Excavators at Tel al-Daba‘a have discovered a wall. The wall is 500m long and made from sandstone. It dates to the Middle Kingdom (before 1650 BC). The find is important as Tel al-Daba‘a, known in ancient times as Avaris, was the capital of the Hyksos rulers of the Egyptian Delta during the Second Intermediate Period (ca. 1650–1550 BC).

As happens so often, articles reporting the news frequently contain errors. An article on Egypt Independent claims that the Middle Kingdom started before 1400 BC (i.e. in the middle of the New Kingdom period!). This article on Ahram Online suggests that Hyksos invaded Egypt, though that is far from certain: it’s more likely that they didn’t invade. Finally, this article from the Cairo Post says that wall is important as it hints at a previously unknown city – despite the fact that excavators have long known that the site of Avaris was inhabited even before the Second Intermediate Period.

Staying in Egypt for a bit, a well-preserved sacrophagus has been uncovered on the west bank of Luxor that dates back to before 716 BC. Iy belonged to a high priest of the god Amun Ra. The sarcophagus was made of wood and covered by a layer of plaster. The tomb was actually discovered already in 1978 and excavators have been working there since 2009. The mummy has not yet been examined.

National Geographic ran a fairly detailed article on the ‘discovery’ of the island of Kane in the Aegean, just off the coast of western Turkey. The island was close to the Sea-Battle of Arginusae (406 BC), where the Athenians defeated the Spartans. The island probably turned into a peninsula some time during the Late Middle Ages. Among other things, archaeologists discover the submerged remains of a Hellenistic port.

During works to install pipelines under a busy street in Rome, a room was discovered dating back to the first century AD. Its walls were decorated with frescoes and it must have been part of a luxurious house. Archaeologists say that the area back then was inhabited by the wealthy, and that already digs in the early 1900s yielded remarkable finds here.

Finally, a farmer in Switserland has happened upon a Roman coin hoard. The treasure consists of gold and silver coins that date back to the reigns of Emperior Aurelian (r. AD 270–275) and Emperor Maximian (r. AD 286–305). The orchard where the coins had been found had never been built on. The treasure will eventually go on display.

Picture credit: thumbnail for this post taken from one of the articles on Avaris.

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