At the Roman necropolis in Al-Qantara East the Egyptian mission of the Ministry of State of Antiquities (MSA) uncovered two Ptolemaic tombs that can be dated to the first century AD.
MSA Minister Mohamed Ibrahim told Ahram Online that the first tomb belongs to a priest called Mina from a Roman area named Sila.
The tomb is 6.5 meters high and 2.5 meters long. It is built of mud brick and has a vaulted ceiling and a burial shaft. One of the tomb’s walls is decorated with coloured paintings depicting Mina in front of the goddess Isis.
The second tomb, according to Ibrahim, is built of limestone but still not yet identified. It contains a collection of Ptolemaic clay pots and pans.
Mohamed Abdel Maqsoud, head of the Ancient Egyptian Section in the MSA, said that the necropolis was subjected to illegal excavation, but the Ismailiya police caught the culprits.
He also added that the illegal excavation forced the ministry to immediate begin its own excavation there.
Al-Qantara East has a rich history, dating back to the pharaonic era. Ahmose I, a pharaoh who founded the 18th century, waged many important wars in the area, most notably against the Hyksos, Seti, and Ramses II.
In modern times, it was the site of numerous World War I battles between the Allies and Turkish forces, as well the main base of the Australian Light Horse operations in Sinai from 1916 until 1920.
It was also the site of a massive warehouse and hospital centre, which were used again in World War II.