National Science Center grant OPUS 25 for PCMA UW project in Marea

In the latest edition of the National Science Centre competitions, a project submitted by the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology of the University of Warsaw was selected for funding. Prof. Tomasz Derda (Faculty of Archaeology, University of Warsaw) received a grant for his project “«Marea»/Philoxenite on Lake Mareotis – A Late Antique Ideal City and Pilgrimage Station” in the OPUS 25 competition.

Project abstract: “The aim of the project is to write a biography of this city, until recently unknown to science. Built on a site 40 km from Alexandria, the city with its monumental buildings had to be erected with the cooperation and support of the Bishop of Alexandria, who never allowed an independent bishopric to be established to the west of his capital. The city was an important pilgrimage station, but it also served as a local economic centre until the 8th century.

The project focuses on two main issues related to archaeological research:

1. Archaeology of water. ‘Marea’/Philoxenite gives a unique opportunity to describe the functioning of the city and its inhabitants in interrelation with water. The subject of the research will be the port infrastructure (large piers), quays and their construction, large baths (excavations in the so-called western baths), a system of latrines located along the shore, water supply to buildings and residents (water wheels, i.e., saqiyas) and a system of channels discharging waste water and impurities.

2. The economy of the city: between the lake and the desert. The area to the west and south of the buildings, cut by canals and water wheels (saqiyas) supplying water to farmlands and orchards, was closely related to the city. On the shore of the lake, only 300 m from the border of the town, remains of a farm with stone buildings, a water wheel and its own pier have been identified (excavations are proposed in the application)”.

Amount: 1 840 498 PLN