Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

Providing fuel, building materials and food for gold exploitation in the Eastern Desert, Egypt: Multidisciplinary dataset of the Ptolemaic site of Samut North (late 4th c. BCE)

Abstract : Egypt's Eastern Desert, located between the Nile and the Red Sea, is one of the most arid regions of the world, where organic remains are particularly well-preserved. Archaeobotanical, archaeoentomological and textual data from the excavation of the gold mining site in Samut North, occupied at the beginning of the Ptolemaic period (late 4 th c. BCE) provides unique opportunity to explore how people managed their need for fuel, wood and food at a period not currently well documented. Acacia (Acacia sp.) was the most important fuel, used for all artisanal and domestic heating activities. Other fuel resources (twigs, shrubs, maybe coprolites) were used sporadically, and are only associated with domestic contexts (cooking, heating, lighting, etc). Wood timber and wooden objects were made of Leptadenia pyrotechnica (Forssk.) Decne. 1838, acacia, caper (cf. Capparis decidua (Forssk.) Edgew.), tamarisk (Tamarix sp.) and coniferous (Cupressus/Juniperus) woods. Food products show little diversity: barley (Hordeum vulgare L. 1753), free-threshing wheat (Triticum cf. turgidum subsp. durum/turgidum) and lentils (Lens culinaris Medik. 1787). Several insects, some of them attested for the first time in an archaeological context, were common woodborer or crop pests. Plants used for fuel and woodworking are mostly of local provenance and charcoal fuel was produced locally, showing a good knowledge of desert resources. The majority of food remains came from the Nile Valley or from the oases of the Western Desert, with a limited supply of local wild desert fruits and seeds. This analysis offers an original dataset for a poorly documented though critical period, at the very beginning of the Ptolemaic period, and reveals an elaborate economic system with local supply networks and imported products, mostly aimed at essential needs.
Complete list of metadata

https://hal-mnhn.archives-ouvertes.fr/mnhn-03215881
Contributor : Charlène Bouchaud <>
Submitted on : Monday, May 3, 2021 - 3:51:14 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, May 5, 2021 - 3:33:39 AM

File

Bouchaud_et_al_Samut_Reviewed....
Files produced by the author(s)

Identifiers

Citation

Charlène Bouchaud, Jean-Bernard Huchet, Thomas Faucher, Bérangère Redon, Camille Noûs. Providing fuel, building materials and food for gold exploitation in the Eastern Desert, Egypt: Multidisciplinary dataset of the Ptolemaic site of Samut North (late 4th c. BCE). Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, Elsevier, 2021, 35, pp.102729. ⟨10.1016/j.jasrep.2020.102729⟩. ⟨mnhn-03215881⟩

Share

Metrics

Record views

19

Files downloads

24