New research grant for work on the Red Sea coast of Egypt

We are happy to inform that yet another research grant proposal submitted by the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology University of Warsaw has received funding from the National Science Centre.

Preludium 9 – Marek Woźniak (MA): From military base to international emporium: the nature and functioning of the Hellenistic port of Berenike on the Red Sea.
The site of Berenike on the Red Sea coast of Egypt is excavated by a Polish American team co-directed by Prof. Steven E. Sidebotham (University of Delaware, USA) and Iwona Zych (PCMA UW).

Excavations in recent years have uncovered the first example of Hellenistic defensive architecture from the western coast of the Red Sea. It is at the same time the only such architectural complex known from Egypt. Adding on to that, it is the only complex of its kind that has been explored in any of the harbors established by the Ptolemies in the Red Sea basin. The exploration pinpointing elements of the Hellenistic defensive system was made possible by a magnetic map of the site which was completed in the course of the past few seasons of work. This non-invasive “picture” of architectural remains buried under sand revealed not only individual walls, but also a whole tetrapyrgion (Hellenistic fort) with towers and other associated installations. Excavations have already cleared a fortified gate dating from the beginning of Ptolemaic rule in Egypt (mid 3rd century BC), as well as a system of subterranean chambers and passages and an installation for collecting and storing water.

Marek Wożniak aims to concentrate his research on a historical and archaeological analysis of all of the uncovered structures and finds (pottery, coins and other small finds). His comprehensive review of the material, aided by the results of archaeozoological examination of the faunal remains and biological studies of large amounts of mollusks and shells, plus geoarchaeological data on shoreline development and sea currents, as well as climate and rainfall changes in this part of the Red Sea (carried out by cooperating researchers) will give a full picture of the urban landscape and functioning of the harbor town, placing it at the same time against a balanced view of the natural environmental setting.
The grant received by Marek Woźniak is the third research project financed by the National Science Centre that falls within the frame of international archaeological investigations conducted by the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology in the Red Sea region.

The other grants currently in progress are:
„Harmonia 6” grant: Prof. Michał Gawlikowski: “Infrastructure of the international trade in the Red Sea area in the Roman period
„Preludium 7” grant: Iwona Zych: Religious practices and beliefs in the “Red Land”: religious building complexes and cult objects from the port of Berenike as a manifestation of the religiousness of the population of the Egyptian Red Sea coast and Eastern Desert from the mid 3rd century BC to the early 6th century AD

The National Science Centre has also granted funding (Opus 9) for research conducted at the site of Tell el-Retaba in the Nile Delta by Dr. hab. Sławomir Rzepka from the Institute of Archaeology University of Warsaw, in cooperation with the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology UW.
Congratulations to the project heads on their success!

For more information:

On the Berenike Project:The Berenike Project (facebook)

New grant for PCMA research on Red Sea trade in Roman times:

On other grants awarded to the PCMA UW: