Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Breaking news Ruins of 7,000-year-old city found in Egypt oasis
"A team of US archaeologists has discovered the ruins of a city dating
back to the period of the first farmers 7,000 years ago in Egypt's
Fayyum oasis, the supreme council of antiquities said on Tuesday.
"An electromagnetic survey revealed the existence in the Karanis region
of a network of walls and roads similar to those constructed during the
Greco-Roman period," the council's chief Zahi Hawwas said. (..)
"The artefacts consist of the remains of walls and houses in terracotta or
dressed limestone as well as a large quantity of pottery and the foundations
of ovens and grain stores," he added.
The remains date back to the Neolithic period between 5,200 and
4,500 BC. The local director of antiquities, Ahmed Abdel Alim, said
the site was just seven kilometres (four miles) from Fayyum lake and
would probably have lain at the water's edge at the time it was inhabited."

Pretty important if it pans out. I'm a bit suspicious that it seems to be only discovered via an electromagnetic survey and in the area of a substantial Greco-Roman occupation. Nevertheless, the link has a photo of people excavating at the site and the article does mention that it has been dated, so one should probably assume it's reasonably secure to this period.

Most (actually all) of the Neolithic remains in the Fayum show no architecture at all, let alone in mud brick/terracotta/limestone so this would certainly be something new. Kom W, excavated by Caton-Thompson, had grain silos, but the only structures present were probably light structures supported by poles (she found post holes, but no actual structures). This site implies a much higher level of organization. So we'll see. Via EEF.