The eastern gate of the fortress
An Egyptian archaeological mission working at the Tell El-Kedwa site in North Sinai has uncovered the ruins of the northeastern and southeastern towers of a military fortress from ancient Egypt's 26th Dynasty.
The fortress is built of mud brick, and was uncovered during excavation work carried out by an Egyptian mission as part of the Sinai development project.
Secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Moustafa Waziri said that the mission has excavated the fortress' southern wall, which extends for 85 metres. Its eastern wall was discovered in 2008.
"It is considered one of the oldest fortresses to be discovered," Waziri said, adding that "on its remains another fortress was built in a later period in antiquity."
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Nadia Khedr, head of the Central Department of Lower Egypt Antiquities, said that the walls of the old fortress measure almost seven metres in width and have four towers. The walls of the newer fortress are 11 metres wide and have 16 towers.
She continued that the old fortress has chambers full of sand, which likely served to relieve pressure on the walls.
Khedr also suggested that these rooms might have been used as water banks, which a distinguished feature of 26th Dynasty architecture.
Hisham Hussein, director-general of North Sinai antiquities, said that the excavations also revealed an entrance to the fortress, which is a side gate located in the northeastern part of the excavated wall. The mission also discovered remains of a security room east of the gate, where soldiers would monitor the entrance and exit of the fortress.
Remains of houses that had been built on the western side of the fortress were also discovered, as well as a faience amulet bearing the name of King Psmatik I inside one of the houses.
"Therefore, initial studies suggest that the fortress most probably dates back to the first half of the 26th Dynasty, specifically the era of King Psmatik I," Hussein pointed out, adding that excavation is still ongoing.
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