Two Byzantine coins found in Beheira

Nevine El-Aref , Monday 26 Nov 2012

Italian excavation mission discovers two well-preserved gold Byzantine coins in El-Baheira


An Italian excavation mission headed by Dr. Loredana Sist from Milano University stumbled upon two well-preserved gold coins within the sand at the archaeological site Kom El-Ghoraf in El-Beheira governorate in Delta during routine excavations.

Each coin weighs 4,300 gr. The first coin depicts the figure of a Byzantine Emperor named Phocas (602-610 AD) holding in his right hand a cross. His name is on one side of the cross, while the other side shows the same emperor with a cane in one hand and a cross in the other.

The second coin shows the image of another Byzantine emperor named Heraclinus (610-641 AD) with his two sons, princes Konstantinos III and Heraclinus II, on one side while the other side features a large cross.

Mohamed Ibrahim, Minister of State of Antiquities, said the very important discovery gives Egyptologists a full and complete vision of the shapes, sizes and looks of coins during such an era. It also shows the high skills of craftsmen of the Byzantine period, he added.

Mostafa Roshdi, Director of El-Beheira Antiquities, told Ahram online that the area of Kom El-Ghoraf is a very important archaeological site located between Damanhur and Rosetta. It was previously a part of the seven Nomes of Lower Egypt, the district still little explored. In the Late Period this area was dominated by the city of Metelis, not yet identified.

The vast site was destroyed intensively since the late nineteenth century, as seen from topographical maps of different periods that record the progressive dismantling.

Roshdi said the area is full of impressive structure ruins of mud brick, residential houses with a large amount of domestic ceramics, mostly of the Roman and Byzantine periods.  Some modest depositions and 11 structures from the Roman period, built in adobe, are located in various areas of Kom El-Ghoraf, except one of them is completely submerged in mud.

Studies carried out along previous excavations of the site reveal that the site was used until the early 7th century AD, at the time of the Arab invasion of Egypt.

 A collection of architectural fragments, including a large stone gargoyle in limestone and a lion's head have also been found. Roshdi pointed out that the size and architectural decoration of the building suggests it is a construction of a public nature that dates back to the Roman times.

A late Roman settlement, consisting of buildings constructed in mud brick with a curtain in terracotta, was found above these structures. 

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