The Desert Fortresses of Ptolemaic Egypt

The Desert Fortresses of Ptolemaic Egypt

February 10, 2021
8:00 PM

Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 8 pm EST via Zoom

The Desert Fortresses of Ptolemaic Egypt

Jen Gates-Foster

Recent archaeological work in Egypt’s Eastern Desert has revealed a network of fortresses and way stations constructed in the mid-third century BCE by the pharaohs of Ptolemaic Egypt. These military installations were constructed to supply and protect caravans transporting battle elephants from the coast of the Red Sea to the Nile Valley, as well as to provide support to mining expeditions dispatched to this mineral-rich region.

The remains of these remote outposts demonstrate a significant investment by the Egyptian monarchs and a remarkable period of intensive occupation that lasted some seventy years, ending in the early second century BCE in the years after the Great Revolt in Upper Egypt in 206 BCE.

The occupants of these desert forts—a community that included members of the Ptolemaic army, civilians and even members of the royal household—left behind a remarkable material and textual record that gives us detailed new information about their daily life, food preferences and religious practices as well as their contact with nomadic peoples of the region.

Jen Gates-Foster – Associate Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Michigan

BAF and its sister organization in Northern Virginia (BASONOVA), are delighted to announce a joint resumption of their lecture series on the ancient Near East and Eastern Mediterranean. This series will be broadcast “live” via Zoom, and “attendees” will be able to direct questions of the presenters.

How to Access the Lecture Series

We will announce additions to the line-up of presenters on a regular basis, as it is our aim to offer more than one event each month. Members will also receive a regular listing of recommended lectures in the public domain.

If you wish to subscribe to the series*, please access the BASONOVA PayPal portal and use a credit card for a one-year subscription ($35 per family). Go to:

It is also possible to access the series one lecture at a time, for $6 per lecture. To receive your single-lecture Zoom invitation, go to:

*Maryland residents will be enrolled in BAF and Virginians will be enrolled in BASONOVA. There is no advantage in enrolling in one group versus the other, only that when in-person lectures begin again you will be apportioned to the group that matches your state of residence.