Yale Team Discovers Ancient Egyptian Settlement

Site of A Large Bread-Making Industry

The central portion of the site, looking toward the north, with the crags of Garn el-Ginah in the background.
Yale Team Discovers Ancient Egyptian Settlement
Download Audio
Audio Playlist
Yale Team Discovers Ancient Egyptian Settlement

 A Yale University team has uncovered an ancient area in the Egyptian desert that was once the site of a massive bread-making industry.   

The discovery is part of the “Theban Desert Road Survey”. The project is trying to locate, map and record the ancient caravan roads and oasis  settlements of the upper Western desert in Egypt. 

Project director John Coleman Darnell is a professor of Egyptology at Yale.

"One of the things we think is really great about the work on the desert roads is that by following the roads they literally lead you from site to site."

He and his team had suspected that there were important settlements in the Western desert. But they were surprised to find a mud-brick site with enough bread molds to feed an army.

"This is not a place where a lot of people have come together and they just happen to be baking a lot. But its a big administered area; not so much a city lets say, but remains of some sort of industrial core."

Darnell says the discovery points to the existence of an Egyptian indigenous oasis culture that lived 3,500 years ago. The site has been named Umm Mawagir, Mother of Bread Forms. 

For WNPR, I'm Diane Orson.