Roman Naukratis and its Alexandrian context

Ross I. Thomas

A recent British Museum Research Project, ‘Naukratis: The Greeks in Egypt,’ and the survey and excavation of the Lake Mareotis hinterland of Alexandria by the Southampton University ‘Lake Mareotis Research Project’ provide interesting and contrasting insights into the fates of these two important ‘Greek’ cities in Egypt. While our understanding of the limited published Ptolemaic material has been hindered by researchers’ focus on the 7th-century BC founding of Naukratis, Roman material remains largely unregistered or unpublished in the 70 museums around the world that house artefacts from Naukratis. The British Museum’s ‘Naukratis: The Greeks in Egypt’ project will bring together all 15,000 Naukratis objects into one online catalogue, allowing for comparisons to be made with other settlements and between different periods. Along the shore of Lake Mareotis, a number of satellite settlements appeared around Alexandria, including a significant late 4th- to early 5th-century AD boom in domestic settlement along its shores.

This study will present comparisons between the results of both studies and how they have helped refine our understanding of the contacts, compositions and fates of both settlements between 30 BC and AD 639. This is also a useful case study for illustrating the value of digitisation and research collection-based museum studies, and how the rediscovery of 19th-century excavated material continues to inform current research in our field. 

Roman Naukratis and its Alexandrian context (PDF, 6MB)

To reference this article we suggest:

Thomas, R. 2014. Roman Naukratis and its Alexandrian context. BMSAES 21: 193–218. http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/publications/online_journals/bmsaes/issue_21/thomas2014.aspx

Contact the author

rthomas@thebritishmuseum.ac.uk