Life at Berkou: a newly-discovered Roman fortress in Egypt
Jennifer Gates-Foster, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
September 26, 2022 · 4:30 pm—6:00 pm · Green Hall 3-S-15
Program in Archaeology; Archaeological Institute of America (AIA)
In 2020, just before the onset of the Covid pandemic, the French Archaeological Mission to the Eastern Desert (MAFDO) began excavations at the remote desert site of al-Ghozza, located near the Imperial Roman hardstone quarries of Mons Porphyrites and Mons Claudianus in Egypt’s remote mountains adjacent to the Red Sea. While most of the site’s remains were related to a third-century BCE occupation linked to gold extraction in the nearby mountains, adjacent to this older settlement the team discovered and fully excavated a small but very well-preserved Roman military fortress, called Berkou in the ancient texts found at the site. Only occupied for a few decades, the fortress offers a snapshot of military life during the height of early Imperial expansion into this remote region, and provides a valuable glimpse of military supply and organization during the Flavian era.