CAIRO: Remains of an ancient settlement were discovered in the Um El-Mawagir area of the El-Kharga Oasis, the Supreme Council of Antiquities said Wednesday.
Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni confirmed the discovery and added that the settlement has been dated back to the Second Intermediate Period (ca. 1650-1550 BC). This makes it about a thousand years older than the major surviving ancient remains in the area.
The American-Egyptian mission from Yale University, led by John Coleman Darnell, found the ancient settlement during excavation as part of the Theban Desert Road Survey. This project helps in the investigation and mapping of the desert routes in the Western desert.
According to Zahi Hawass, SCA secretary-general, the recently discovered settlement is about 1 km long from north to south and about 250 meters wide from east to west.
Archaeological evidence indicates that the site was part of some sort of administrative center and included areas that identified baking in a considerably large scale occurred, Hawass added.
Remains of large administrative mud-brick structures were found and the buildings consisted of rooms and corridors quite similar to those found in multiple sites in the Nile Valley.
A portion of an ancient bakery was also found and contained two ovens and a potter’s wheel, which is thought to have been used to make the ceramic bread molds that the bread was baked in.
The quantity of remains from debris dumps found outside the bakery seem to suggest the idea that a food surplus was being produced and could possibly have been feeding an army.
The sites discovered may have been used as a lookout post, said Darnell.