Thursday, November 09, 2006

Serabit Al-Khadem

A short and somewhat dubious article from Al Ahram (since when was Serabit Al-Khadem in both the Nile Valley and Sinai at one and the same time?). But here it is anyway: "Miners were the very first settlers in Sinai. Around 8,000 years ago they started mining near-surface turquoise and copper. By 3500 BC, the goliath turquoise vein of Serabit Al-Khadem was discovered and for more than 2,000 years the early Pharaohs of newly united Egypt conducted a fairly systematic operation. Turquoise was extracted from the high mountainous mines, carried down through Wadi Matalla till it reached the garrison port of Al-Markha, near today's Abu Zenima. From there it was loaded onto ships bound for mainland Egypt. The bluish green turquoise served a number of purposes, from carving scarabs to using its powder as a colouring paint. Dedicated to Hathor, the patron goddess of copper and turquoise miners, her temple is located 1,100m above sea level. It was first built during the reign of Pharaoh Sesostris I of the Middle Kingdom."
See the above for the rest of the piece.

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