Mersa Gawasis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Mersa Gawasis [1] in hieroglyphs
O34
G39
G1 G43 G43 N25

Saww
S3ww
Sauu
Mersa Gawasis is located in Egypt
Mersa Gawasis
Mersa Gawasis in Egypt

Mersa Gawasis (Ancient Egyptian Saww) is a small Egyptian harbour on the Red Sea and a former Egyptian port city. The harbour lies at the mouth of Wadi Gawasis, 2 km south of the mouth of Wadi Gasus. 25 km north is the city of Safaga and 50 km south al-Qusair.

The place was apparently used as a port in the reigns of Senusret I to Amenemhat IV[2] of the 12th Dynasty, and served as a loading point for expeditions to Punt. The harbour was also a starting point for journeys to the mines of Sinai.[3]

Etymology[edit]

Mersa means port, and Gawasis is a medieval term for scout boat.[4]

History of investigation[edit]

When a stele from the 12th Dynasty was found in Wadi Gasus, in which a nearby port called Saww was mentioned,[5] the University of Alexandria began an excavation headed by Abdel Monem A.H. Sayed near the Graeco-Roman hydreuma (watering station) where the stele was found. As no other pharaonic monuments were found, it was concluded that the stele had been transported in Roman times from Saww to the watering station. The search was continued further east at the mouth of Mersa Gasus, where still no pharaonic remains were found.

Just two kilometers further south of Mersa Gawasis, a small stele was discovered with fragmentary inscriptions of the cartouche of Senusret I and the geographical name Bia-n-punt. 250 meters west of the harbor, on the north side of Wadi Gawasis, was found a small shrine with the name and titles of Ankhu, valet of Senusret I. The shrine consisted of a limestone anchor as a base, from which the upper holes were cut out. In the inscriptions appeared again the name Saww (as Sww), which is confirmed as the location of the harbor at Mersa Gawasis.

Two hundred meters to the west of the shrine, another small stele was discovered with a limestone anchor as a base. It contained an order from Senusret I to the vizier Intefiqer for a ship to travel to Bia-Punt. Subsequent excavations in 1977 recovered some pottery shards with hieratic inscriptions listing the content, origin and destination of the vessels. Among them appeared a temple of Senusret II, the name Punt and the name of an official from the time of Senusret III.

The finds revealed that Saww could now be clearly identified with Mersa Gawasis and that in the Middle Kingdom the ships sailed from here to Punt and back. It was found that the ships - as on the outward journey - were disassembled on return and transported to the Nile Valley in pieces. The approximately 250 pounds (110 kg) anchors were made in Mersa Gawasis and on return were left in place and reused, for example as a shrine or stela base.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Kathryn A. Bard: Harbor of the Pharaohs to the land of Punt, 2007, ISBN 978-88-95044-11-8.
  • Abdel Monem A.H. Sayed: Wadi Gasus in: Kathryn A. Bard, Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt, 1999, S. 866–868.

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Rainer Hannig: Großes Handwörterbuch Ägyptisch-Deutsch : (2800 - 950 v. Chr.). von Zabern, Mainz 2001, ISBN 3-8053-1771-9, S. 1378.
  2. ^ El-Sayed Mahfouz: Amenemhat IV at Wadi Gawasis, Bulletin de l'Institut français d'archéologie orientale A. (BIFAO) 2010, vol. 110, [165-173, 485, 491 [11 p.]], ISBN 978-2-7247-0583-6, see also [1]
  3. ^ Sayed: Wadi Gasus in: Bard, Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt, 1999, S. 868.
  4. ^ Sayed: Wadi Gasus in: Bard, Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt, 1999, S. 866.
  5. ^ Stele des Chentchtaywer aus dem 28. Jahr des Amenemhet II., berichtet wird von einer sicheren Rückkehr aus Punt.

Coordinates: 26°33′26″N 34°02′11″E / 26.55722°N 34.03639°E / 26.55722; 34.03639