The NYU Institute for the Study of the Ancient World presents
Emeralds from the Desert: Challenges, Issues, and Successes of Emerald Mining in the Egyptian Eastern Desert in the Roman and Byzantine Periods
Joan Oller Guzmán (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
Friday, March 3, 2023 at 11am
This event is free and open to the public, however an RSVP is required. To RSVP, click here.
Joan Oller Guzmán has a PhD in Ancient History from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and is currently lecturer in this same university. His main line of research is related to the study of the territory and landscape in the Roman period, conducting different archaeological project on this subject in several areas of Spain (north of Barcelona, Catalan Pyrenees, Burgos, Ecija). Since 2016 he has directed the "Sikait Project" an archaeological concession in the Wadi el Gemal National Park (Eastern Desert of Egypt), an area corresponding to the ancient Smaragdos, that has as its main goal the study of the processes of extraction and commercialization of emeralds in Antiquity.
This presentation will offer an overview of the work conducted by the Sikait Project in the Wadi el Gemal National Park (Eastern Desert of Egypt) between the years 2018 and 2023. During five seasons, this project has tried to get a better understanding about how the mineral of beryl was extracted and traded. The analysis of this region, with special attention to the Wadi Sikait, has allowed a breakthrough concerning this subject. Thus, a large network of settlements and mining areas have been identified and documented in detail. Thanks to that work, we will be able to show several aspects, previously unknown, related to the extraction process, the infrastructures linked with the mining operations, the production recording systems or the ownership of the mines, offering and image of a complex productive region that flourished during more than six centuries in an extremely harsh environment.
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