04-06-2007 09:56

Archeologists in North Sinai have unearthed a fifth century Roman theatre amid lava remains near an ancient Egyptian fortress. It is believed that a volcanic eruption three-thousand-five hundred years ago destroyed many cities on Egypt's coastline.

The excavations got underway over 10 years ago. Archeologists also uncovered a military administrative center as well as granaries, which helped provide food for Egypt's armies.

Egypt's chief archeologist, Zahi Hawass, says the evidence of lava dates back to around fifteen-hundred B.C.. That's when the Saint Turin Volcano in the Mediterranean Sea erupted, destroying several cities on the coastlines of Egypt and present-day Saudi Arabia.

Zahi Hawass, head of Supreme Council of Egyptian Antiquities, said, "The most important discovery is evidence of the remains of lava from the volcanic eruption. From historical records we know that this eruption in the Mediterranean, killed over

35,000 people. And secondly, that it occurred about fifteen-hundred B.C.. That's just fifty years before the beginning of the New Kingdom. The remains of the volcano and the lava that has been found in this area, indicate that the archaeological discoveries can fit into historical records from this period."

Near the site of the excavated fortress, archaeologists have also been excavating the site of a 5th Century, Roman amphitheatre. They say it is one of the largest ever to be discovered in Egypt. The amphitheatre was once supported by 30 columns. But it was damaged during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

The amphitheatre is currently in the process of being restored. Authorities intend to rebuild the wooden stage and seating area. This, after being destroyed during the Israeli occupation of the Sinai peninsula, when it became a theatre site for military purposes. Once the restoration process is complete, the site is scheduled to re-open as a tourist attraction.


Editor:Liu Fang