Wadi Tumilat (Old Egyptian Tjeku/Tscheku/Tju/Tschu) is the 50-kilometre-long (31 mi) dry river valley (wadi) to the east of the Nile Delta. In prehistory, it was a distributary of the Nile. It starts near the modern town of Zagazig and the ancient town of Bubastis and goes east to the area of modern Ismaïlia.
In ancient times, this was a major communication artery for caravan trade between Egypt and points to the east. The Canal of the Pharaohs was built there. A little water still flows along the wadi.The current Sweet Water Canal also flows along the wadi.
The Arabic name "Wadi Tumilat" is believed to reflect the existence in the area, in ancient times, of an important temple of the god Atum (Old Egyptian pr-itm, 'House of Atum', changed over time into 'Tumilat', as well as into 'Pithom').
|Wadi Tumilat in hieroglyphs|
Wadi Tumilat has the ruins of several ancient settlements. The earliest site excavated is that of Kafr Hassan Dawood, which dates from the Predynastic period to the Early Dynastic Period. 12 km (7.5 mi) to the east.Late in the New Kingdom of Egypt period, there was a well fortified site at Tell el-Retabah. But then, in the Saite Dynasty period, the major settlement and fort were moved east to Tell el-Maskhuta, only
Necho II (610–595 BC) initiated—but may have never completed—the ambitious project of cutting a navigable canal from the Pelusiac branch of the Nile to the Red Sea. Necho's Canal was the earliest precursor of the Suez Canal, and it went through Wadi Tumilat.It was in connection with a new activity that Necho founded a new city of Per-Temu Tjeku which translates as 'The House of Atum of Tjeku' at Tell el-Maskhuta.
Around 1820, Muhammad Ali of Egypt, the Ottoman Governor of Egypt, brought 500 Syrians to the Wadi and equipped them with animals and labor to construct 1,000 sakias for the cultivation of mulberry trees for sericulture. The irrigation system was repaired by cleaning and deepening the existing canals. Labor was provided by forcing peasants to work.
Tell Shaqafiya in the Wadi is also associated with the Canal and its operation.
The site of Tell el Gebel is mostly of the Roman period.
In 1930, a team from the German Institute in Cairo conducted a survey of Wadi Tumilat. Later on, some Hyksos tombs were also discovered in the area at Tell es-Sahaba.
Modern excavations at Tell el-Maskhuta were carried out by the University of Toronto "Wadi Tumilat Project" under the direction of John S. Holladay Jr. They worked over five seasons between 1978 and 1985.
As many as 35 sites of archaeological significance have been identified in the Wadi. The three large tells in the Wadi are Tell el-Maskhuta, Tell er-Retabah, and Tell Shaqafiya.
Tell er-Retabah has been investigated by the archaeologist Hans Goedicke of Johns Hopkins University.
There are several biblical references to the area of Wadi Tumilat. For example, the ancient Pithom is believed to be here.
The western end of the Wadi Tumilat is identified as part of the Land of Goshen.
Wadi Tumilat—an arable strip of land serving as the ancient transit route between Egypt and Canaan across the Sinai Peninsula—is also seen by scholars as the biblical "Way of Shur".
Biblical scholar Edouard Naville identified the area of Wadi Tumilat as Sukkot (Tjeku), the 8th Lower Egypt nome. This location is also mentioned in the Bible.
The Suez Canal is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea through the Isthmus of Suez and dividing Africa and Asia. Constructed between 1859 and 1869 by the Suez Canal Company formed by Ferdinand de Lesseps in 1858, it officially opened on 17 November 1869. The canal offers watercraft a more direct route between the North Atlantic and northern Indian oceans via the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, thus avoiding the South Atlantic and southern Indian oceans and reducing the journey distance from the Arabian Sea to London by approximately 8,900 kilometres (5,500 mi), or 8-10 days. It extends from the northern terminus of Port Said to the southern terminus of Port Tewfik at the city of Suez. Its length is 193.30 km (120.11 mi) including its northern and southern access-channels. In 2020, over 18,500 vessels traversed the canal.
The land of Goshen is named in the Bible as the place in Egypt given to the Hebrews by the pharaoh of Joseph, and the land from which they later left Egypt at the time of the Exodus. It was located in the eastern Delta of the Nile, lower Egypt; perhaps at or near Avaris, the seat of power of the Hyksos kings.
The Crossing of the Red Sea forms an episode in the biblical narrative of The Exodus.
Necho II of Egypt was a king of the 26th Dynasty, which ruled out of Saite. Necho undertook a number of construction projects across his kingdom. In his reign, according to the Greek historian Herodotus, Necho II sent out an expedition of Phoenicians, which in three years sailed from the Red Sea around Africa to the Strait of Gibraltar and back to Egypt. His son, Psammetichus II, upon succession may have removed Necho's name from monuments.
Hyksos is a term which, in modern Egyptology, designates the kings of the Fifteenth Dynasty of Egypt. The seat of power of these kings was the city of Avaris in the Nile delta, from where they ruled over Lower and Middle Egypt up to Cusae. In the Aegyptiaca, a history of Egypt written by the Greco-Egyptian priest and historian Manetho in the 3rd century BC, the term Hyksos is used ethnically to designate people of probable West Semitic, Levantine origin. While Manetho portrayed the Hyksos as invaders and oppressors, this interpretation is questioned in modern Egyptology. Instead, Hyksos rule might have been preceded by groups of Canaanite peoples who gradually settled in the Nile delta from the end of the Twelfth Dynasty onwards and who may have seceded from the crumbling and unstable Egyptian control at some point during the Thirteenth Dynasty.
The Nile Delta is the delta formed in Lower Egypt where the Nile River spreads out and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the world's largest river deltas—from Alexandria in the west to Port Said in the east, it covers 240 km (150 mi) of Mediterranean coastline and is a rich agricultural region. From north to south the delta is approximately 160 km (99 mi) in length. The Delta begins slightly down-river from Cairo.
The Egypt Exploration Society (EES) is a British non-profit organization. The society was founded in 1882 by Amelia Edwards and Reginald Stuart Poole in order to examine and excavate in the areas of Egypt and Sudan. The intent was to study and analyze the results of the excavations and publish the information for the scholarly world. The EES have worked at many major Egyptian excavation and sites. Their discoveries include the discovery of a shrine for the goddess Hathor, a statue of a cow from Deir el-Bahri, the mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut, and the sculpted model of Nefertiti from Amarna. The Society has made major contributions to the study of the ancient Egyptian world. The Society is based in London and is a registered charity under English law.
Darius the Great's Suez Inscriptions were texts written in Old Persian, Elamite, Babylonian and Egyptian on five monuments erected in Wadi Tumilat, commemorating the opening of the "Canal of the Pharaohs", between the Nile and the Bitter Lakes.
Pithom also called Per-Atum or Heroöpolis or Heroonopolis was an ancient city of Egypt. Multiple references in ancient Greek, Roman, and Hebrew Bible sources exist for this city, but its exact location remains somewhat uncertain. A number of scholars identified it as the later archaeological site of Tell El Maskhuta. Others identified it as the earlier archaeological site of Tell El Retabeh.
Pi-Ramesses was the new capital built by the Nineteenth Dynasty Pharaoh Ramesses II at Qantir, near the old site of Avaris. The city had served as a summer palace under Seti I, and may have been founded by Ramesses I while he served under Horemheb.
The Canal of the Pharaohs, also called the Ancient Suez Canal or Necho's Canal, is the forerunner of the Suez Canal, constructed in ancient times and kept in use, with intermissions, until being closed for good in 767 AD for strategic reasons during a rebellion. It followed a different course from its modern counterpart, by linking the Nile to the Red Sea via the Wadi Tumilat. Work began under the pharaohs. According to Darius the Great's Suez Inscriptions and Herodotus, the first opening of the canal was under Persian king Darius the Great, but later ancient authors like Aristotle, Strabo, and Pliny the Elder claim that he failed to complete the work. Another possibility is that it was finished in the Ptolemaic period under Ptolemy II, when engineers solved the problem of overcoming the difference in height through canal locks.
Pr is the hieroglyph for 'house', the floor-plan of a walled building with an open doorway.
Lake Timsah, also known as Crocodile Lake, is a lake in Egypt on the Nile delta. It lies in a basin developed along a fault extending from the Mediterranean Sea to the Gulf of Suez through the Bitter Lakes region. In 1800, a flood filled the Wadi Tumilat, which caused Timsah's banks to overflow and moved water south into the Bitter Lakes about nine miles (14 km) away. In 1862, the lake was filled with waters from the Red Sea, and became part of the Suez Canal.
Ankhkherednefer was an ancient Egyptian official known from a block statue found in the Tell el-Maskhuta. The statue, made of red granite is now in the British Museum.
Henri Édouard Naville was a Swiss archaeologist, Egyptologist and Biblical scholar.
Ancient Egyptian trade consisted of the gradual creation of land and sea trade routes connecting the ancient Egyptian civilization with the ancient India, Fertile Crescent, Arabia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Nebkaure Khety was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the 9th or 10th Dynasty, during the First Intermediate Period.
Saft el-Hinna is a village and an archaeological site in Egypt. It is located in the modern Al Sharqia Governorate, in the Nile Delta, about 7 km southeast of Zagazig.
Burton MacDonald is a Canadian biblical archaeologist specialising in the archaeology of Jordan. He has been a professor at St. Francis Xavier University since 1965 and is currently Professor Emeritus in the Religious Studies department.
The Exodus is the founding myth of the Israelites. The scholarly consensus is that there was no Exodus as described in the Bible.