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Recent Excavations At The Ancient Harbor Of Saww (Mersa/Wadi Gawasis) On The Red Sea

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Chapter Summary

In the 1970s, Abdel Monem Sayed identified the remains of a Middle Kingdom harbor, known anciently as Saww, at Mersa/Wadi Gawasis on the Red Sea, about 22 km south of the modern port of Safaga. Sayed found 12th Dynasty inscriptions there from a shrine of an official of Senwosret I named Ankhu, and an inscribed stela of the king's vizier Intef-iker. Saww was the staging point and harbor for pharaonic seafaring expeditions to regions in the southern Red Sea to obtain exotic raw materials. The first six field seasons at Mersa/Wadi Gawasis have now provided more information about ancient Egyptian navigation in the Red Sea, and the possible location of Punt. The remains of seafaring ships at Mersa/Wadi Gawasis demonstrate that these ships were built with a more sophisticated technology than the well-known Egyptian boats used on the Nile.

Keywords: Egyptian navigation; harbor; Mersa/Wadi Gawasis; Red Sea; Saww; seafaring expeditions



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