Wednesday, January 20, 2010

In the field: January 2010

Al Ahram Weekly (Nevine El-Aref)

With photos.

Abbasid gold coins in Fayoum, two rock- hewn tombs in Saqqara and a four- cornered, mud-brick tower on the wall of Islamic Cairo are the latest antiquities discovered in Egypt.

Wherever a mission digs in Egypt it is obvious that they will come up with a treasure. An archaeological mission from the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology of Warsaw University excavating in a monastic building at Deir Al-Malah Monastery at Naqlun in Fayoum recently unearthed a decorated clay cup of Aswan production full of coins. The hoard consists of 18 gold coins and 62 fragments of coins, all of them provisionally dated to the Abbasid period.

Under the charred remains of a collapsed wall, archaeologists also uncovered a chandelier and a well-preserved oil lamp, both made of bronze.

"The whole treasure was found inside a room that seems to have been hastily abandoned during a fire," said Woldzimierz Godlewski, head of the Polish mission. He added that the monastic complex of Naqlun was built in the early sixth century AD, while the area excavated this season dated to the seventh century and was destroyed by a massive fire in the eighth or at the beginning of the ninth century AD.

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