The joint Egyptian-German archaeological mission discovered more than 13,000 ostraca dating back to the Ptolemaic,Roman era, Coptic and Islamic eras, during excavations in the archaeological area of Sheikh Hamad, west of Sohag governorate.
Dr. Mustafa Waziri, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said that these ostraca (fractures of pottery pots) bear inscriptions in the ancient Egyptian language in the form of demotic, hieratic and hieroglyphic scripts, or in the form of Greek, Coptic and Arabic writing.
Moreover, he affirmed the importance of this discovery, as it provides an opportunity for researchers to study the economic life of the city of Athribes, noting that these writings refer to the financial transactions that took place during this period, such as cash, wheat and bread accounts. It also contains lists of the names of a number of people and their families.
On his part, Dr. Christian Leites, head of the mission said that they are currently examining and studying the ostraca carefully to know more details about the nature of the community and its activities during this important period of Egypt’s history.
In addition, Dr.Mohamed Abdel-Badi, head of the Central Administration of Upper Egypt Antiquities pointed out that the mission also discovered a number of Greek ostraca dating back to the end of the Roman era (the period from the 3rd until the 6th century AD), and their existence continued even after the Arab conquest of Egypt (The period from the 7th to the 9th century AD).
Contributed by Nada Mustafa