It is common in literature dealing with the NE Delta frontier and the Wadi Tumilat to speculate of a Pharaonic canal between Bubastis, Lake Timsah, and Arsinoe. However, there is no evidence in the Pharaonic records of such a canal, indeed, there is quite a bit of evidence to the contrary. All known expeditions to coastal Punt (the coast from Suakin to the Gulf of Zula) had their beginnings at Saww/Mersa Gawasis, 26°33’23″N, 34° 1’57″E, from the Middle Kingdom into the reign of Ramesses III (see Breasted’s translation of Papyrus Harris). The journey from Saww to the gold mines of Hammamat to Coptos and down the Nile to Pi-Ramesse would have been utterly idiotic if there was a canal connecting the Red Sea with the Pelusiac. Even sea expeditions for turquoise/chrysocolla (mafkat) were organized in ‘Ain Sukhna (see Hoffmeier, Ancient Israel in Sinai, pg. 39). According to Fouilles de Clysma-Qolzoum (Suez) 1930-1932, a costly and obscure work known only to Walter Mattfeld and Gordon Franz, a fortress of Ramesses III was uncovered beneath Clysma. Suez certainly was Egypt’s primary export port after Darius finished Necho’s abandoned canal.

Advertisements