Thursday, July 07, 2011

Earliest ever civil Roman basilica found outside Alexandria

Ahram Online (Nevine El-Aref)

With three photos.

At Al-Baron area in Semouha district, south of Alexandria, an Egyptian archaeological mission has discovered several significant monuments and artefacts that will help in the writing of the history of the area.

During excavations, archaeologists uncovered the earliest Roman civil basilica yet found on top of a Ptolemaic temple dedicated to the three Alexandria deities (Isis, Serapis, Harpocrates) along with a collection of terracotta statues.

Mohamed Mostafa, director general of Alexandria antiquities, said that excavations have also uncovered two parallel rows of granite and lime stones as well as parts of granite pillars that give the impression that these items were once part of a larger building that can be dated to the Roman period. Early investigations, said Mostafa, reveal that it could be a court, a club, or for trade activities

Al Masry Al Youm

Officials say archaeologists have unearthed the first basilica erected in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria.

Antiquities authorities say the basilica is dated to the Roman era and was built on the ruins of a temple from the Ptolemaic reign that ended with the death of Cleopatra.

A statement Thursday says two parallel rows of granite and limestone pillars suggest the basilica was a social site that was also used for trade and judicial matters.

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