Archaeologists Find Legendary Ancient Egyptian Coastal Fortress

A double line of walls protected the western part of the fortress, while a single line sufficed farther to the east and north. Image Credit: Antiquity / S.E. Sidebotham.

An ancient Egyptian Coastal fortress, believed to date back around 2,300 years, which helped protect a Red Sea port, which provided the Pharaoh’s army with War Elephants has recently been discovered by experts.

It is believed that the massive 2,300-year-old fort, located at a port called Berenike was erected when Egypt was ruled by the Ptolemaic dynasty.

The discovery was made as archaeologists from the United States and Poland were excavating the area around Berenike.

“A double line of walls protected the Western part of the fortress, while one line was enough for the fortifications on the East and North. Square towers were built at the corners and in strategic places, where it joins the sections of the walls,” explained archaeologists, Marek Woźniak, and Joanna Rajkowska who participated in the discovery.

Speaking to Live Science, Wozniak explained that the western part of the fortification, consisting of a set of double walls faces inland, which tells us that the defenders were concerned about threats coming from that direction.

Gate of Hellenistic Berenike, viewed from the north-west Image Credit: Antiquity / S.E. Sidebotham.

As explained in the study detailing the discovery, the fortress was measured and stretches 525 feet in length and has a width 262 feet.

Within the fort, archaeologists discovered the remains f a ruck cut well as well as a series of channels and pools that served in ancient times as devices that would collect, store as well as redistribute groundwater and rainwater.

“The two largest pools may have had a total capacity of over 17,000 liters,” Woźniak and Rądkowska wrote. The fact that rainwater was drained and collected suggests that Berenike had “a more humid climate than today,” archaeologists noted in their study.

Experts found it also contained “three large courtyards and several associated structures, forming an enclosed fortified complex of workshops and stores.”

However, the size of the fort is not the most eye-catching feature noted experts.

The most impressive aspect of the fortress is its architecture, explained Woźniak, who explained to Live Science that its “well-made monumental architecture covered and protected by [the] sands is amazing.”

Historians suggest that Berenike was one of many ports erected along the Red Sea. These ports served a military purpose: provide war elephants for the army of the Ptolemies.
Researchers suggest that the rulers of the Ptolemaic dynasty most likely important war elephants from Eritrea, in East Africa.
Archeologists also recovered terra-cotta figurines ancient coins as well as elephant skulls.
In their study, experts note that they have not discovered any evidence that an attack on Berenike ever took place.

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