Medinet Madi – The Roman castrum of Narmuthis (October-November 2006)

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The Castrum Narmoutheos recognised
The Mission of the University of Pisa has effected in the period October-November 2006 the usual annual activity in the Fayum.
The first part has been devoted to the continuation of the work of consolidation and restoration to the rock-cut Tomb of the Prince Uaget to Khelua under the superintendence of the architect head of the SCA to the Fayum Mr.Abd el Alym Mynisier, that has collaborated with competence and share.
The 12 pillars of the hypostyle have been completed in height; the state of maintenance of the sculptures of the pillars has been monitored; the door of principal access has been closed with a door in iron; a secondary door has been blocked; the inferior part of the 6 fragmentary statues in external façade has been in a large extent restored and protected, eliminating the incrustations of salt that had altered her. Such work has been conducted directly by the personnel of the department of the restoration of the Inspectorate of the Fayum. The closing of the ceiling and the definitive completion of the restoration will be object of the next mission in 2007. pianta_MM_castrum
The second part of the season, as foreseen, has been conducted in Medinet Madi, in the area chosen by the Mission and approved by the SCA according to the undersigned contract.
During the operations of excavation have been brought to the light the principal structures of the Roman military camp, whose construction goes up at the end of the III century AD under the kingdom of Diocletian. About the existence of such camp we were informed till now only by manuscript sources (Notitia Dignitatum) and from some Greek papyrus. The Castrum of Narmuthis-Medinet Madi was the second Roman military camp of the Fayum, over that well known of Kasr Qarun, but till now it had not been located and discovered.
It is a quadrangular structure with walls of great thickness, strengthened with 4 angular towers and a circular central tower; endowed with two entries, the principal on the north side, the secondary one on the south side.
Castrum_NarmuthisHas been shown great part of the perimeter and about halves the lodgings of the soldiers, destined to entertain the Cohors IV Numidarum located in Narmuthis under the command of a Roman tribunus.
The recovery of objects is limited to few bronze coins of the IV century AD, to modest and fragmentary rests of ceramics of daily use and to a fragment of relief on limestone with rest of colours, that represents the goddess Isis-Renenut in its usual form of feminine body and the inferior part of the body of cobra, but having a large squamous snake in relief on the chest.
The material written, all in Greek, is constituted by an ostrakon that it brings names of person and from some fragments of wine’s containers that they preserve the name of the owner, certainly a soldier.

The state of maintenance of the fortress has imposed us a big work of restoration and consolidation of the structures of mud bricks, mainly the enormous foundations, that it will continue together with the work of excavation in the next mission 2007.
In the second halves the month of November, according with our application to the SCA, a work of consolidation and restoration has been initiated in one of the houses of the second court of the temple of Medinet Madi. Such work has been conducted in accord with the Department of architecture and restoration of the Inspectorate of the Fayum and bottom an inspector’s control sent by the SCA.
The mission was accompanied to Khelua and Medinet Madi by the inspector of the SCA Mazhar Ezt El Rweesy and by the inspector of the SCA Rezk Diab Ghadiry Hassan.
Members of the Mission:
Edda Bresciani-Director, Rosario Pintaudi-Messina University,
Antonio Giammarusti architect, Flora Silvano, Angiolo Menchetti.

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