by Erin Peters
Here at Antinoupolis, the Italian mission has been excavating since the 1930s and has a long and productive residence at
the site. There are a number of publications resulting from the mission’s work and two recent volumes that include scientific publications of the team’s work since 2000–for these resources and more, see The Antinoupolis Foundation’s bibliography. For this 2017 season, the mission has three active excavation areas open, and today I write about one that is in the east of the ancient city near what was once a monumental gate facing the Via Hadriana. Hadrian built this impressive road through the desert as a new trade route, which ran through Antinoupolis to the Nile for river transport.
The east gate was monumentalized by huge red granite columns, of which fragments are extant. Two column bases (one upright and one overturned) and three column shaft fragments were known before this season and are an impressive sight to see.
Under supervision of the mission’s architect, Peter Grossman, another section of a column shaft was unearthed this season. This shaft indicates there could be more fragments nearby, possibly under the 4-5th century CE church that Peter’s team is currently excavating, the remains of which you can see above.
Hopefully some of these shafts will be more visible in the near future and draw visitors to the site as recorded in The Antinoupolis Foundation’s February 10 blog post. The mission’s director, Rosario Pintaudi, has put in an application to the Ministry of Antiquities to re-erect the column. If approved, perhaps the column shaft will be soaring at the east edge of the city by the time I return next year!
Erin Peters is an assistant curator of science and research at Carnegie Museum of Natural History. She recently traveled to Egypt for an archaeological research study. This is a series of blog posts she wrote while in the field. Check back for more!