Mons Claudianus Safaga, Egypt information, tours, booking
Mons Claudianus located about 40 km along the Safaga – Qena road, Egypt. Moreover, it is 500 km south of Cairo and 120 km east of the Nile. Mons Claudianus situated in the heart of the Red Sea mountains. In fact, Mons Claudianus was a Roman quarry in the eastern desert of Egypt. It consisted of a garrison, a quarrying site, and civilian and workers’ quarters. Granodiorite mined for the Roman Empire where it used as a building material. The site features fragments of granite with several artifacts such as a broken column. Moreover, the site also features many of texts which written on broken pottery (Ostraca).
Mons Claudianus lies in the Eastern desert of upper Egypt and discovered in 1823 by Wilkinson and Burton. About 50 km away is another imperial stone quarry which known as Mons Porphyries. In fact, it is the world’s only source of purple porphyry. The excavation of Mons Claudianus by the Romans occurred through two centuries. It was from the 1st century AD to the mid-3rd century AD. There is no evidence of settlements near or at the quarry before the Roman settlement. The arid conditions of the desert allowed the documents and organic remains to survive.
Further details about Mons Claudianus:
Mons Claudianus was an abundant source of Granodiorite for Rome. In fact, it uses in notable Roman structures. The structures are such as the emperor Hadrian’s villa at Tivoli and public baths. Moreover, the structures also included the floors and columns of the temple of Venus. Furthermore, they also included Diocletian’s Palace at Split. They also included the columns of the portico of the Pantheon in Rome. In fact, all quarried at Mons Claudianus. Each was 39 feet (12 m) tall, five feet (1.5 m) in diameter, and 60 tons in weight.
Mons Claudianus access routes and transport :
Mons Claudianus linked to the Nile River by a traceable surviving Roman road. Moreover, it marked by way-stations spaced out at one day intervals. The stones from the quarries which shaped in the desert, taken then along the road to the Nile Valley. In fact, it was for trans-shipment to Rome. Documents which found on site referred to 12-wheeled and 4-wheeled carts. They also included a request for delivery of new axles. The journey would last about five days or longer. The way-stations resembled small defended ‘forts’ with many rooms. In fact, they accompanied by stabling and a water-supply. Moreover, they served as motels where the men and animals moving the stones could rest, eat and drink. Donkeys may used to transport food and water which needed by men.
In fact, it was between way-stations and to pull the wagons. Yet, for larger loads it seems that both human and animal labor used. Camels used for communication and for the transport of food and water. The columns may have also dragged more than 100 km from the quarry to the river. In fact, it was on wooden sledges. Though the terrain from quarry to the Nile is such that the route which was downhill the entire length. They floated by barge down the Nile River . In fact, it was when the water level high during the spring floods. And then, transferred to vessels to cross the Mediterranean Sea to the Roman port of Ostia. There, they transferred back onto barges and pulled up the Tiber River to Rome.
Life in Mons Claudianus:
The quarry administered by the Roman army. The quarry men of Mons Claudianus skilled and well-paid civilian workforce. Moreover, their lifestyle at the quarry could described as luxurious. In fact, the Ostraca refers to four groups of people. They are soldiers and officials, skilled, civilian workers, unskilled workers and women and children. Many of the workers at Mons Claudianus earned around 47 drachmas a month. In fact, it was twice as much as their counterparts in the Nile Valley. Furthermore, their salary also includes “Arddab” which was approximately 47 pints of wheat. In fact, it was according to the Ostraca ( earthen pots with inscriptions on them).
Evidence has found of 55 different food plants and 20 sources of animal proteins. In fact, the available foods included fish from the Red Sea, luxuries like artichoke, citron and pepper from India. Moreover, they also included Game animals, snails and oysters. Findings of seeds of cabbage, leaf beet, lettuce, mint, basil and a few others were not present. In fact, food both delivered and grown at Mons Claudianus. It was to maintain the health of the workers with proper iron and vitamin C intake. Germinated, carbonized barley grains have also found. Imported chaff, straw, barley grain, charcoal and midden material used for animal fodder.
Further details about Mons Caludianus:
At the Quarries, several columns, some basins and a bath still found. In fact, they lying broken. The largest column is 60 ft high and weighs some 200 tonnes. Many buildings still survive intact to roof height. The settlement resembled a fort with walls and projecting towers. Moreover, it housed an estimated 1000 people, both quarry men and guards. The stones from the quarries shaped in the desert to reduce their weight. And then, they taken to the Nile Valley for shipping to Rome.