Friday, March 24, 2006

Surface evidence

The long-held but untested belief that the Dakhleh Oasis town of Al-Qasr was built on the site of a Roman citadel has been confirmed with the discovery, by accident, of a piece of wall that has always been visible to archaeologists walking past it, but was unrecognized: " What caught his eye was an outcrop of what had always been thought -- if any thought was given to it at all -- to be an outcrop of dried mud beneath a disused mosque on the edge of the old town. One morning this February Leemhuis was walking past the "rock" when he noticed that the sun caught a distinct line that appeared to be a course of brickwork. He called in the project's chief restorer, Rizq Abdel-Hay Ahmed, and local inspector Affaf Saad Hussein, and together they examined it more closely. Under the veneer of sun-baked mud they could distinguish several such courses. Far from being hardened earth this was mud-brick, and, moreover, the size of the bricks -- each 8x16x33 cms -- corresponded exactly to bricks in other Roman fortresses in the Western Desert. Since then other experts, including Roger Bagnold of Columbia University -- who has also walked past it many times -- have agreed the wall is Roman."
The article goes on to describe not only this find, but to discuss other work that has been carried out by the Qasr Dakhla Project (part of the Dakhla Oasis Project) in Al-Qasr. A welcome insight into the varied and valuable activities of one archaeological project team. See the above web page for the entire article.

No comments: