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01 December 2005

History Professor Uncovers Ancient Trade Route

Steven Sidebotham, University of Delaware professor of history wears several hats—detective, excavator, surveyor, trash collector, historian and interpreter—literally uncovering the secrets of ancient Egypt through excavations and explorations of the port of Berenike on the Red Sea plus the "emerald city" of Sikait, site of deserted emerald mines...

He and various coauthors have written recent articles on each site—“Berenike: A Ptolemaic-Roman Port on the Ancient Maritime Spice and Incense Route” in the May/June issue of Minerva, The International Review of Ancient Art and Archaeology, and “Emerald City” in the June issue of Archeology, a publication of the Archaeological Institute of America.
“Berenike was an active port from the third century B.C. to the sixth century A.D. when it was deserted,” Sidebotham said. “We can only speculate what happened—silt filling the harbor, a plague from Africa, which may have spread to the city, or competition from South Arabia or the African kingdom of Axum, which controlled the entrance to the Red Sea.

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