CAIRO – 12 April 2022: The Egyptian archaeological mission of the Supreme Council of Antiquities working at the Tibet Mutawah site, west of Alexandria, succeeded in uncovering a workshop for the manufacture of pottery (amphoras) dating back to the early Roman era.
Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mustafa Waziri explained that the discovered workshop consists of a group of kilns. The mission succeeded in discovering two of them carved in the rock. One of them is in a good state of preservation and has a vaulted entrance on the western side, through which the potters were put into the furnace to stack the amphoras. After the compaction process is completed, the entrance is blocked with clay blocks and the remains of pottery sherds. The fuel was added by a ramp carved into the rock below this inlet.
Waziri added that the initial evidence indicates that this workshop was used in later eras, as the northern area was used to create a lime-making kiln that may date back to the Byzantine era. Part of this kiln was destroyed at a later stage when the site was re-used as a cemetery in the Middle Ages. Two burials were found in the kiln, one of which was of a pregnant woman. He also pointed out that the mission will continue its excavations at the site to unravel more secrets in the coming period.
For his part, Head of the Egyptian Antiquities Sector at the Supreme Council of Antiquities Ayman Ashmawy said that the mission also succeeded in discovering another building located to the south of these two furnaces, which was probably used to store utensils for daily use. A large collection of cooking utensils and cutlery were found inside.
Additionally, a group of limestone units from the Ptolemaic era was discovered. These units were used for different purposes, including being used as a temporary residence for workers consisting of 13 rooms.
Some rooms were used to prepare food, as stoves and the remains of animal bones, such as bones of pigs, goats, sheep and fish, were found. Some other rooms were used for manufacturing, where grinders, pestles, amphoras, weights of different types and spindles were found.
Furthermore, a room that may have been used for cooking and selling food was discovered, with numerous amphoras, the remains of fish bones, stoves for cooking, and a large number of coins found scattered on the floor; and a room that is believed to have been used for holding rituals was also uncovered, as a raised platform, and some parts of terracotta statues in a poor state of preservation were found there.
Head of the mission Mohga Ramadan Abdel Kader indicated that the mission also succeeded in discovering a large group of coins, most of which span back to the Ptolemaic era. The mission restored a number of the coins, some of which were carved with the faces of Alexander the Great, Queen Cleopatra and the ancient deity Zeus.
The mission also found parts of terracotta statues of deities and elite women, and an amulet and feathered crown for the deity Bes, part of a statue associated with fertility, and parts of the fishing hooks used by the inhabitants of the area at the time, and the anchor of one of the boats.
Moreover, nearly a hundred burials were found, in addition to a cemetery with destroyed burial holes dug in the rock. This confirms that the site was used before the era in which the pottery workshop was built.