A major excavation led by the British Museum has unearthed a wealth of revealing detail about a Greek trading city in ancient Egypt.
Wood from Greek ships and Egyptian figurines dedicated to a ‘festival of drunkenness’ are among more than 10,000 ancient artefacts discovered on the site of the city of Naukratis – which was on the Nile delta.
The ancient port is mentioned in the accounts of Herodotus – the Greek historian writing in the fifth century BC.
The finds reveal a vast trading network befitting an international city with a history spanning 1,000 years from the seventh century BC.
Dr Ross Thomas the British Museum curator who leads the project told the Observer that Naukratis should now be viewed as ‘the Hong Kong of its era’.
‘This is clear from the wide variety of objects found’ he said.
It had been thought by many scholars that Naukratis was a relatively small town.
Although Naukratis had been known about from ancient sources its precise location had been lost until its rediscovery by an English Egyptologist in 1884.
Having since been repeatedly excavated the site was thought to have been exhausted but the latest excavation has established that it was twice as large as had been assumed and that only a small percentage of it has been explored.