Wadi Semna

An overview of the hydreuma in Wadi Semna, with the industrial railway between Qena en Quseir in the background. The ancient well is in semi-circular part of the structure to the right of the picture:
The rectangular, southern part of the hydreuma in Wadi Semna was build around a large open courtyard. Until the spring of 1999 the perimeter walls, with at least six towers, were still standing to a respectable height:


Objective of visit:
To draw a measured plan of the site and study the surface remains (including the ceramic finds).
Date of visit:
  - July 1997
- August 1998
- June 1999
Fellow visitors:
  Prof.Dr. Steve Sidebotham (University of Delaware), Prof.Dr. Jim Harrell (University of Toledo), Dr. Abdel-Maqsoud (EGSMA) and Saleh Ali (our Bedouin guide).
Results: A survey was performed using the Global Positioning System and a theodolite with steel tape measures. Off-site assistance was given by pottery expert Dr. Roberta Tomber (Museum of London). Our work was published in the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 2001; 87: 135-170 and in Phoenix 2002; 48: 114-117 (in Dutch).
Approximate position and date of the site:   Wadi Semna is in the central part of the Egyptian Eastern desert, between the Qena-Safaga and Quft-Quseir asphalt roads. Surface pottery dated to the beginning of the Roman period (ca. 30 BC- 300 AD).
Short description of the site:   The hydreuma in Wadi Semna was built to accommodate the stone quarry in Wadi Umm Wikala which was operational in early Roman times. The architecture suggests that it was was built on an older, much smaller structure. The stone that was quarried here (probably the ancient ophites) was transported to the Nile and from there to Alexandria and Rome. 
Additional remarks: Between August 1998 and June 1999 all internal walls and part of the perimeter wall and gate of the hydreuma had been removed with a large machine, probably to be used elsewhere as foundation material. Our work was sponsored by the University of Delaware, the University of Toledo and private donors.