Saturday, October 8, 2016


DESPITE looting in recent years, important discoveries continue to be unearthed at ANTINOOPOLIS, where archaeologists have found evidence of a temple dedicated to Antinous-Osiris and a large harborside peristyle court.

Finding the exact location of the ancient waterfront is important since it may indicate the site at which Antinous died.

We know that Emperor Hadrian commanded that a sacred city be founded at the location where Antinous drowned in the Nile.

We also know from an ancient papyrus that an impressive quayside port facility was constructed at or near that site.

Using ground-penetrating radar (GPR), archaeologists have found a large square compound of paving stones bordered by columns ... which could mark the site where Antinous drowned.

It is highly possible that the compound resembled the Serapeum at Alexandria depicted at the top of this entry ... since that was the prevalent style in Roman Egypt.

The archaeologists also found a stone door lintel which is inscribed with a dedication to Osiris, indicating it came from a temple. 

Since Antinous was worshiped as Osiris, it is likely that the temple was dedicated to him in that form.

However, it is too early to speculate on the temple's location since the stone was found in isolation with no other building stones around it. It is possible the stone was moved in subsequent centuries when the city was used as a quarry.

Writing in his annual report, James B. Heidel, president of the Antinoupolis Foundation, says the discoveries in the past year at the site have exceeded all expectations.

Finds include ornate capitals which once adorned colossal columns.

Heidel also says LOOTING has abated somewhat following a return to a semblance of stability in Egypt.

Since the revolution in Egypt, which resulted in runaway lawlessness, the site has been subject t"SYSTEMATIC LOOTING" for three years. 

The scope of looting diminished in recent months, although local villagers still search for "trinkets" to sell on the black market, he writes.

Heidel says his archaeologists working at Antinoopolis (also known as Antinoe) say local villagers continue to encroach on the dig site ... ostensibly to create new space for housing and graves.

However, it is an ages-old practice in Egypt for villagers to build houses over places where they can "accidentally" unearth ancient treasures by digging tunnels under their homes. And excavation of new graves can "accidentally" reveal more ancient treasures.

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