26th-Dynasty Military Castle Discovered in Egypt
An Egyptian archeological mission working in North Sinai’s Tell El-Kadwa site has discovered the remains of what used to be a military fortress ‘ northeastern and southeastern towers.
The fortress, made of mud brick, dates back to the 26th Dynasty Saite era, said Dr. Moustafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
He added that archaeological excavations are carried out as part of a project to develop Sinai.
Ayman Ashmawy, the head of the Egyptian antiquities sector, said the mission was able to unearth the remains of the towers of the ancient castle, as well as its southern wall, which extends for 85 meters.
Excavation is still ongoing to find more architectural parts of the fortress, Ashmawy added.
Back in 2008, another archaeological mission had discovered the eastern wall of that fortress, which is considered the oldest in Egyptian history. Another fortress was built on the ruins of the old one and was discovered by an earlier mission.
Nadia Khedr, head of the Central Department of Lower Egypt Antiquities, said the walls of the old castle were near 7 meters in width, compared with 11-meter wide walls of the most recent one.
The most recent castle has 16 towers, while only four have been discovered so far as part of the construction of the old one, Khedr added.
Rooms full of sand, broken pottery and debris were built inside the walls of the old fortress, probably with the aim to ease pressure on the walls, she added.
Khedr also suggested that those rooms might have been used as water banks, noting that this was a distinguishing feature of Saite architecture.
Hisham Hussein, director general of North Sinai antiquities, said the excavations also revealed an entrance to the castle, which is a side gate located in the northeastern part of the discovered wall.
The mission also discovered remains of foundations of a security room east of the gate, where soldiers used to monitor the entrance to and exit from the fortress, Hussein added.
The archaeologists also unearthed the remains of houses that had been built on the western side of the castle, Hussein said, adding they found part of a faience amulet bearing the name of King Psmatik I inside one of them.
Initial studies of the discovered pieces suggest that the castle most probably dates back to the first half of the 26th Dynasty, particularly the era of King Psmatik I, he noted.
The Tell El-Kadwa castle had come under a strong attack that destroyed all its walls. It represented the eastern gate of Egypt during the Saite era.