The Egyptian Red Sea town of al-Quseir hit the headlines after Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities announced that a single gold coin dating back to the Umayyad period had been discovered. This coin was unearthed by an American expedition from Yale University during archaeological excavations at the Monastery of Saint John the Little, which is located near al-Quseir. The coin weighs 1.42 grams, and was equal to one third of a Dinar and dates back to 721 AD. One side of the coin is inscribed with the words: “This Dinar was minted in 103” while on the other side it reads, “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” The American expedition was led by archaeologist Steven Davis who submitted a report to me about the excavation carried out by his team in this important spot that was once a major trade route linking the cities of the Nile Valley and the eastern and western Red Sea ports.
Al-Quseir is considered one of the most important Egyptian towns that prospered during the Islamic age and it is unique in that it retains a lot of its original features and authenticity.
Monday, June 21, 2010
When Al-Quseir hit the headlines
Asharq Alawsat (Zahi Hawass)