Discoveries of the Egyptian mission working in new Damietta

Discoveries of the Egyptian mission working in new Damietta

The Egyptian mission working in the Tell al-Deir in the new city of Damietta succeeded in uncovering seven gold coins from the Byzantine period, and a collection of ushabti statues engraved with the cartouche of King Psamtik II, one of the 26th Dynasty.

Dr. Ayman Ashmawy, head of the Egyptian Antiquities Sector at the Ministry of Antiquities, said that all the coins were inscribed with the mint name "conop", which means Constantinople. The mission was also able to find many decomposed human bone remains which contained beautiful funerary amulets. These amulets were characterized by their diversity in style and composition, including scarab, wadjet ("eye of Horus"),  djed pillar and knot of Isis amulets. Other amulets also represented several deities,  such as Isis, Nephthys, Tausret and Horus.

Dr. Nadia Khidr, head of the central administration of the Nile Delta and head of the archaeological mission, added that on one of the coins they discovered an inscription depicting Emperor FOCAS, who ruled the Byzantine Empire in 602-610 AD. The front of the coin shows a bearded king with a cross surmounting his head, and holding with his right hand an inscription naming King NFOCAS.  On the back the Emperor is shown standing with his right hand holding a cross and the word VICTORIA, meaning "victory" engraved by his side. At the bottom of the coin is the word CONOB, indicating that Constantinople was the coin mint. 

In addition to this was a collection of five gold coins depicting Emperor Heraclius and his son Constantine the Elder, who ruled in from 610-648 AD. On the back is an image of the cross surrounded by the word cross  VICTORIA. "AUG" is written on the other side, indigating August, the title Heraclius was given. 

The last coin belongs to emperor Constantine II, who ruled the country from 648 to 668 AD.

It is important to note that the area of Tell al-Deir is a huge Necropolis which was used throughout different periods in ancient Egypt, and was especially important during the twenty-sixth Dynasty, all the way through to the Greek period and then the age of the Romans and Byzantines. The limestone coffins were made of fine limestone, which depicted human faces, probably of the deceased. The coffins were transferred to the Great Egyptian Museum.