A team of archaeologists carrying out excavations in the ancient Egyptian seaport of Berenice Troglodytica (also known as Briniki) on the west coast of the Red Sea discovered a curious ancient figure of Buddha.
The discovery was made by American and Polish researchers from the Polish Center for Mediterranean Archeology from the University of Warsaw and the University of Delaware which have operated on the site since 1994 under the supervision of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
According reported According to the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, the statuette, measuring about 71 centimeters, dates from Roman times and represents a masked Buddha, devoid of his right limbs, and with a halo surrounding his head, in reference to the rays of the sun. sun.
The partially recovered statue dates to the 2nd century, providing evidence of Indian influence and trade connections with the Old Roman Empire through Egypt.
The statuette discovered. Credit: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities.
Mostafa WaziriSecretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, explained that during the time of the Roman Empire, Egypt was at the heart of the trade route that connected it to many parts of the ancient world.
At the time, the boats they came mainly from India, laden with spices, jewellery, textiles and/or ivory.
Important place of trade
Berenice’s location made the port a prosperous city trade center of West and South Asia under the Roman Empire, goods arriving there were unloaded and shipped across the desert to the Nile. However, the important port was briefly abandoned during the 2nd century due to a volcanic eruption. Later, in the 6th century, the same thing happened, after which it silted up and was mostly inaccessible.
Marius Goyazdaa Polish researcher involved in the archaeological mission, said the statue was made of stone and may have been excavated from an area south of Istanbul, and the Buddha figure may have been carved locally , at Berenike, and offered to the temple by wealthy citizens.
Other discoveries during the excavations revealed a sanskrit inscriptiondating from the time of the Roman emperor Marcus Jules Philippeand two coins that belonged to the Indian kingdom of Satavajana.
Excavation site. Credit: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities.
The researchers said excavations at Berenike would continue, as due to the site’s ancient relevance, “there is probably enough work for four or five generations of archaeologists.”
Source: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities / Polish Center for Mediterranean Archaeology.
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