Archaeologists have discovered a Hellenstic fortress situated close to the Red Sea in Egypt which was constructed 2,300 years ago to protect an ancient port that was known as Berenike. This great fortress would have been built during the time when the Ptolemies reigned supreme in Egypt, with Ptolemy I Soter, Alexander the Great’s friend, the first ruler to take charge of the country after Alexander’s death in 323 BC.
As Live Science reports, in a new study that was recently published by archaeologists Marek Woźniakand Joanna Rądkowska, the Egyptian fortress has been described as being built with a double line of walls on its western side, while the east and north were able to manage with just one line.
“A double line of walls protected the western part of the fortress, while a single line sufficed farther to the east and north. Square towers were built at the corners and in strategic places where sections of the walls connected.”
However, as the western side had double borders, this would suggest that it was the west that Egyptians were most concerned with 2,300 years ago when constructing the large Berenike fortress. The entirety of the fortress was measured and found to stretch 525 feet in length with a width of 262 feet and also contained “three large courtyards and several associated structures, forming an enclosed fortified complex of workshops and stores.”
Woźniak explained that perhaps the most notable and astounding aspect of this Egyptian fortress would have been its style, stating that its “well-made monumental architecture covered and protected by the sands is amazing.”
Inside the gatehouse of this fortress, archaeologists spied numerous drains and pools that would have once collected vast amounts of water for storage that could later be used. According to the study, “The two largest pools may have had a total capacity of over 17,000 liters.” Because of this large scale collection and distribution of rainwater, it has been suggested that the Berenike fortress most likely had “a more humid climate than today.”
When archaeologists scouted just over the south side of the north wall of the fortress, they discovered a host of ancient artifacts which included a coin, different terracotta figurines, and even the skull of an elephant.
It is now understood that Berenike, Egypt, was once a thriving port that held elephants that the Ptolemy army could use during times of war, and in 2014 testing showed that the Ptolemies had their war elephants shipped from Eritrea, which is in East Africa.
The new study on the 2,300-year-old Egyptian fortress of Berenike has been published in Antiquity.