When in 333 BC Alexander took possession of Pelusium situated on a branch of the
Nile that has
shifted since, it was a wealthy settlement as it contributed to his treasury
with 800 talents (20 tons of silver and gold). It was his first stop in
as it was for all conquering armies before and after him. Egypt
Pelusium was not only the point of entry for invaders but also the departure point for Egyptian expeditions to
short, it was a place of huge strategic importance and the second port of Egypt
as it served as a transit station for the goods coming from and going to the
lands around the Red Sea.
Yet, in spite of its fame and importance in antiquity and the many sources among which Herodotus, Polybius, Diodorus, Curtius Rufus, Arrian, Strabo, etc. the site of Pelusium, associated with modern Tell el-Farama has never been properly excavated. Antique sources describe the city as a bustling harbor with magazines and customs offices trading in salt, textiles, potteries and fish. On the site which is believed to be almost six kilometers long, we find the remains of a fortress and marble columns from a possible
Theater that closely resembles the one
There are remains of several necropolises, a hippodrome, fish tanks for garum, Roman
baths with mosaics from the 3rd century AD, a stadium, many temples
and even a military installation.
However, the little we know about Pelusium is now under thread by the construction plans for a massive canal through the northern part of the
This waterway is meant to bring fresh water to the city of Sinai Desert El Arish, 60 kilometers from
the border with .
Unfortunately, in that part of the world nothing is simple. As early as 1991,
archaeologists launched a project to survey the course of this canal in order
to pinpoint any site that may be worth recovering before being destroyed by the
dig works or if possible, divert the route in order to save important remains. It
is no surprise that by 2010, both the canal and the archaeological project have
been put on hold. Israel
It seems that ancient Pelusium will not resuscitate from its ruins any time soon.