Day 58 Egypt’s early capital

The giant settlement mound of Buto in the western Nile delta attests to a long history of occupation. Although Buto is mentioned in written sources, which even refer to it as the early capital of Egypt, little was known about the archaeology of the site until fairly recently. A long-term research programme by the DAI’s Cairo Department is now slowly filling that gap in our knowledge, and the outline of an occupation beginning in the 4th millennium and lasting into Byzantine/early Islamic times is emerging.

The Kom in Buto, viewed from the north (Photo: U. Hartung, DAI Kairo)

Archaeological work was initiated in the early 1980s by the department’s First Director, Werner Kaiser, with the aim of localizing and investigating the pre- and early dynastic Buto of the 4th and early 3rd millennium, known from ancient written sources. Even though investigation of early strata present logistical challenges owing to the high groundwater level, notable finds have been made in recent years, such as early agricultural structures and a brewery from the 4th millennium BC

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