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The University of Southampton
ArchaeologyPart of Humanities

Research project: Mons Porphyrites - Dormant - Dormant

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In five seasons, between 1994-1998, Archaeology at the Universities of Southampton and Exeter surveyed and excavated at the quarry complex of Mons Porphrites.

Mons Porphrites was the source of purple Imperial Porphyry, much sought after in the Roman and Byzantine worlds and which has continued to exercise symbolic influence in western society.

The quarries lie in the Gebel Dokhan, or 'smoky mountain', itself situated in the Red Sea mountains of eastern Egypt. The purple Imperial Porphyry is found nowhere else in the world, except in these mountains (together with other types of Porphyry) and the Romans went to extraordinary lengths to acquire substantial amounts of it.

Related research groups

Classical and historical archaeology
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