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Yale Archaeologists Discover Ancient Oasis City in Egypt

Aug. 25 (Bloomberg) -- A team of archaeologists from Yale University has unearthed the remains of an Egyptian city built more than 3,500 years ago in the southern Kharga oasis, which once connected caravan routes between the Nile Valley and what is now western Sudan.

The mud-brick settlement, which measures about 1 kilometer by 250 meters (3,280 by 820 feet), is thought to have been an administrative center, Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, said in an e-mailed statement today. The discovery of a bakery and large debris dumps suggests the city produced a food surplus and may have been feeding an army, John Coleman Darnell, head of the Yale mission, was cited as saying.

The oasis city has been dated to the Second Intermediate Period, when Ancient Egypt fell into disarray as rival factions vied for power and the country was invaded by a people known as the Hyksos. The country was unified in the 16th century B.C. under the dynasties of the New Kingdom, when Egypt reached the height of its prosperity and power.

Egypt’s ancient artifacts are a major attraction for tourists, who are one of the country’s main sources of foreign currency. Tourism, which accounts for 12.6 percent of jobs, brought in $10.76 billion in revenue last year, according to the Tourism Ministry.

To contact the reporter on the story: Digby Lidstone in Cairo at dlidstone@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Beech at mbeech@bloomberg.net; Peter Hirschberg at phirschbergbloomberg.net.

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