at Tel er-Rub'a (Ancient Mendes)
since 1990, the expedition to Mendes seeks to reveal the secrets of one
of the largest and longest-lived ancient cities in Egypt, and, in the process,
to undertake an in-depth study of ancient urbanism and trade. Already the
excavations have revealed evidence of a dramatic destruction by fire of
the temple of the Ram-god at the close of the Old Kingdom (c. 2200 B.C.),
and a concomitant massacre. From the 7th through 3rd centuries B.C., the
city thrived on foreign trade (particularly in perfume and wine) with countries
all over the Mediterranean, especially Phoenicia and Greece. From 399 to
379 B.C. Mendes enjoyed the status of royal city, and the tomb of one of
the kings of the period, Neferites I, has come to light. Two harbours have
been uncovered with their warehouses, along with evidence of a massive
annihilation of the city at the hands of the invading Persians in 313 B.C.
There are many historical and archaeological problems still to be addressed,
and many fascinating questions to be answered; but our experience suggests
that the answers are there, and an abundance of evidence waiting to be
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