Ancient latrine and jewellery discovered at Egyptian harbour town

Archaeologists excavating the remains of Marea, an ancient harbour town located near Alexandria, North Egypt, have uncovered remains of stone latrines, and jewellery within the ruins of a 1500-years-old basilica.

Ancient latrine (by Anna Drzymuchowska)

Marea was a harbour city functioning during the Roman and Byzantine periods in the vicinity of Alexandria. The researchers do not know yet when it was founded, but it is known that the city was famous for its wine, distributed throughout the Mediterranean. It had long peers, of which the longest measuring 120 metres was built of strong stone blocks, connected with water-resistant mortar. The team of Polish archaeologists excavating within the ancient city is studying the remains of a Byzantine basilica. It is the second largest object of this kind known from the area of Egypt. Artefacts found within the building are dated to between 5-7th century AD, the period in which the city flourished. Archaeologists believe the temple was used for religious purposes until 8th century AD.

Ring with a seal (by Dominika Majchrzak)

Within the basilica, archaeologists discovered remains of stone latrines. They were accessible from outside and inside of the building, serving the attendants and the pilgrims. Such latrines were a standard equipment of such basilicas. What’s interesting, the priest had his own private latrine, which was found in a chapel at the side of the building. Archaeologists also discovered a well within the basilica and numerous metal artefacts, including a bronze ring with an image of a saint serving possibly as a seal, a small bracelet possibly worn by a child with an apotropaic symbol protecting from evil. In one room a trove of documents inscribed in Greek has been found – they area waiting to be deciphered and reveal more about the history of the building. So far it is known that it was possibly written by one person.

Bracelet with a apotropaic symbol (by Dominika Majchrzak)

(after Nauka w Polsce, Dominika Majchrzak & Anna Drzymuchowska)

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