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Uronarti Fort

Nubian Forts - Forts - The Military

“Island of the King”

Lying to the south of the River Nile’s Second Cataract in modern day North Sudan which is part of the Nubian Line of 17 Forts. It was built during the Middle Kingdom Period during the reign of Pharaoh Senusret III during Egypt’s 12th Dynasty. Uronarti Fort remains above the River Nile’s waters after Egypt initiated their High Dam at Aswan in 1964.

Erected as the geography allowed in an odd-shaped triangle made of huge 10-meter-high and 5-meter-wide mudbrick walls, this Fort takes up a floor plan of roughly 140 meters long and 60 meters wide.

When the Fort was built the Egyptians included in their building process Wood and Matting inside the Mudbrick Walls to avoid shrinkage and eventual cracks which would have occurred over time due to the moist environment of the Fort next to the River Nile. The Logs and Mats worked as tension anchors as steel does in today’s modern buildings.

This system was in use from at least Pharaonic Dynasty 3, during Egypt’s Old Kingdom Period, as evidence of this has been found in a mudbrick wall of the Town of Elephantine in Aswan. The Wood was used in Walls thicker than 3.6 meters with Mats being added to Walls thicker than 1.5 meters. The grasses used in the matting are: Halfa grass which was commonly found on the Flood plain of the River Nile and Sedges (Cyperacceae) which is a little less common but grows in marshy or wet areas.

Internally, the Fortress has its entrance via a Fortified Gateway on its South Wall at the end of a long and steep slope. The Fortress has paved Streets throughout with an Administrative Centre, a Treasury, the Governor’s House, several large Granaries and of course the Barracks housing.

A Temple has been located to the south of the Fort appears to have been implemented by Pharaoh Tuthmose III during Dynasty 18. To the north of the Fort was where the inhabitants hew out a set of stairs down to the River Nile, which in some parts was roofed for protection, to collect fresh water via. Another exterior building was known as the Campaign Palace where it is rumoured Pharaoh would stay when on “Campaign” in and around Nubia. Regrettably most of this “Palace” is now below the river levels and so is inaccessible for excavation.

Among the ruins of the Fort has been found a very large number of Papyrus Fragments, Stelae, Seal Impressions, Mud Stamps, Ceramics and Pottery. The most important find is a duplicated Boundary Stela of Pharaoh Senusret III of the one found at the Fort of Semna.


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