Minshah (Ptolemais)

In Graeco-Roman times the city of Ptolemais, in Middle Egypt, was the second or third most important city in Egypt. The remain of Ptolemais are now buried under the modern town of Minshah, but even on the modern rubbish dump remains of the ancient city can be found, like this pillar fragment:
 Not only on the rubbish dump, but everywhere in Minshah remnants of its former glory can be seen poking through the surface, as is true for many places in Egypt. Here two different types of grinding-stones can be seen laying in one of the squares of the town with a decorated pillar capital lurking in the background:


Objective of visit:
To evaluate the possibilities for archaeological fieldwork in Minshah (Ptolemais).
Date of visit:
  February 2002.
Fellow visitors:
  Willeke Wendrich.
A concise report and photo-CD.
Approximate position and date of the site:   Minshah is located in Middle Egypt, on the west bank of the Nile about 15 km. south of Sohag and 120 km. north of Luxor. The remains of Ptolemais, once one of the most important cities in Egypt, are covered completely by this modern village. Literary sources indicate that the ancient city must date to at least the Ptolemaic period (3rd century BC - 1st century AD), but it was probably also active before and after that.
Short description of the site:   Minshah is a small town with narrow, unpaved streets. Most older buildings are nicely designed and well maintained and the streets are kept very clean. The higher, central parts of the town (the kom or tell) are littered with ancient worked stones, often moved to the corners of buildings to protect them from the traffic in the street. In other places ancient remains can still be seen in situ.
Additional remarks:
This work would not have been possible without the indirect support of the Berenike Project and the help of several individuals, among which Joe Manning.