The work carried out on the predominant temple of Sikait, the Giant Temple, additionally allowed the analysis group to doc two completely preserved ritual sanctuaries, one in every of which contained the final votive providing to have been made intact, relationship between the 4th and fifth centuries CE.
The group additionally excavated probably the most spectacular constructing complexes, the Tripartite Constructing, which was most likely used each as a residence and as a warehouse for the emeralds extracted from the mines.
Mapping the mines
In a paper revealed within the journal Thetis, the researchers clarify that the dig seasons started with a topographical survey of the mining areas by which as much as eleven extracting zones have been discovered surrounding Wadi Sikait, the dry valley by which the archaeological web site is situated.
For the primary time ever, an in depth topographic examine of the 2 most essential mines was carried out. It confirmed that one of many mines consisted of a whole bunch of galleries and had a depth of greater than 40 meters. The survey additionally allowed the group to find out that large-scale mining solely started as soon as the best veins have been recognized.
In accordance with Joan Oller Guzmán, who led the excavations, these operations included logistical infrastructures resembling small settlements, necropolises, ramps, paths, working areas and watchtowers. This kind of group is a testomony to the complexity and depth of the processes wanted to extract beryl, the mineral from which emeralds are obtained.
The military was concerned
For Oller Guzmán and his colleagues, probably the most exceptional attribute of those mines is a crucial set of historical inscriptions which permit researchers to deduce data on who labored there and the way the duties have been distributed.
Among the many inscriptions there may be one by a Roman legion, which might for the primary time exhibit that the Roman military was immediately concerned within the exploitation of Egypt’s emerald mines “not solely to defend them but in addition most likely to assist in their development,” Oller Guzmán stated.
Along with these discoveries, the surveying of the realm led the archaeologists to doc dozens of latest settlements, mines, infrastructures and even a necropolis with over 100 tombs, which has added to the data of historical funerary rites and social options of the group residing there shortly earlier than the positioning was deserted.
Within the group’s view, the mixed findings signify an enormous step ahead in understanding how emeralds have been extracted and commercialized within the Graeco-Roman and Byzantine durations.