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Dr Ania Kotarba: Seafaring traditions of the Egyptian Red Sea coast

By Departmental Research Seminar

Tuesday 9 Oct (Week 9), 2-3.30pm

Recreation Room (S2.6), Level 3, Australian Hearing Hub, Macquarie University

The Department of Ancient History in conjunction with the Macquarie University Ancient History Association (MAHA) offers a research seminar series, intended to bring together those within Macquarie and outside who have an interest in the languages, histories, and cultures of the ancient world. View the schedule for the research seminar.

All are welcome! Please arrive on time and join us after the seminar for coffee, tea and biscuits!

Convenor: Dr Alexandra Woods Twitter


Ania Kotarba | Lecturer, Macquarie University

Ancient ports of trade and seafaring traditions of the Egyptian Red Sea coast

The Red Sea region is hostile to long-shore nautical activity as it lacks natural topographic features that could be used as harbours; only a few suitable bays for landing, where the wadi mouths allow the break in the reef, are located on its coasts. However, experiencing seasonally variable winds and currents parts of the Red Sea constituted favourable ground for maritime voyaging, contact and trade for millennia. Berenike Troglodytica was one of the most important harbours on the Egyptian Red Sea during the Ptolemaic and Roman periods – a major hub connecting trade between the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean. It’s geographical position was chosen due to its extraordinarily propitious characteristics owing partly to its natural harbours, protected against the prevailing northern winds, as well as its location in the vicinity of an ancient viewshed – the large peninsula of Ras Benas. This seminar will collate different strands of evidence and compare the seafaring tradition and the recent findings from the port area of Berenike with other key ports of trade on the Red Sea and around the Indian Ocean rims.

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