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By Steven E. Sidebotham

The mythical overland silk street used to be now not the one technique to succeed in Asia for historic tourists from the Mediterranean. throughout the Roman Empire’s heyday, both very important maritime routes reached from the Egyptian pink Sea around the Indian Ocean. the traditional urban of Berenike, situated nearly 500 miles south of today’s Suez Canal, was once an important port between those conduits. during this publication, Steven E. Sidebotham, the archaeologist who excavated Berenike, uncovers the function the town performed within the nearby, neighborhood, and “global” economies in the course of the 8 centuries of its life. Sidebotham analyzes a number of the artifacts, botanical and faunal is still, and hundreds of thousands of the texts he and his group present in excavations, offering a profoundly intimate glimpse of the folk who lived, labored, and died during this emporium among the classical Mediterranean international and Asia.

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Sample text

Several roads lead to the sea, while others snake deeper into the desert or lead to the Nile valley. But there is also evidence that in earlier times, travelers to the Eastern Desert may have used maps. Archaeological survey work has, in addition to recording rock art depicting animals, hunters, and boats, found rather abstract representations. Although earlier surveyors were aware of some of these marks,23 their significance has only recently become clear, when compared to certain wadi systems on modern maps.

74 The lessening of central power during the later Ptolemaic period enabled an increase in private enterprise, such as tax farming, protection, and trade. One might surmise that this development would be reflected in the physical remains of the Ptolemaic way stations, which do not follow a strict design but are adapted to the landscape.

A single well would not suffice, and many must have been sunk in different areas up and down the wadi, their contents deposited in cisterns scattered about the working and residential areas of the laborers; these have long since disappeared, washed away or filled in by water and windborne sand. 53 Here later in Ptolemaic and Roman times was an important praesidium with wells (hydreumata) and cisterns (lakkoi)54 that serviced traffic on the roads between Apollonopolis Magna and Berenike as well as between Apollonopolis Magna and Marsa Nakari on the Red Sea.

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