Ain Sukhna, not Suez, was Egypt’s Pharonic N. Port

I only recently realized that the seaport Egypt launched its turquoise expeditions from was neither Mersa Gawasis nor Suez, but Ain Sukhna. The sea route from Sukhna to the Markha plain (site 346) and on to its mafkat (turquoise/chrysocolla) mines is quite understudied.

Byzantine Sinai

The Madaba Map is a map of Palestine and surrounding areas located in Madaba/Medeba, Jordan. It does not show Sinai, but it does show the Wildernesses of Sin and Rephidim. They are unambiguously located in the Sinai, although the Sinai is shown as greatly below its actual size. The Egyptian territory in the Sinai not part of Egypt (see AJaL, Section 3) is consigned to practical nonexistence (just look at the distance between the greatly misplaced Quseima/Azmon/Asemona, described as “bordering Egypt” and the Nile!). Since Mount Sinai is only a day from Rephidim, the Madaba Map’s author is seeing Israel crossing the Red Sea to the South of the Delta, then keep coming North to Sin (misspelled as Zin), Rephidim, and Sinai (whose location was, to the author, unknown), then going to Kadesh, which he thought to be Petra. Note the gulfs of Suez and Aqaba are implied to be existent by this map’s author. The Peutinger map, (unambiguously showing the Sinai Peninsula, proving Steve Rudd wrong), however, and the testimony of Egeria, clearly state the earliest Byzantine tradition: Mount Sinai was at Jebels Musa/Safsafeh.