Karanis is an ancient archeological site situated
in Kom Aushim settlement of Faiyum Governorate in Egypt. Karanis was
probably in the 3rd century BC. Founded by Greek settlers under
Ptolemy II. And abandoned at the end of the 5th century AD. While
the ancient town had an almost urban character in terms of size, it
was administratively a village, but probably represented a small
regional center. The place has a special meaning for the archeology
, since it is very well preserved. Some houses were still some
floors high at their discovery. The dry climate of Egypt preserved
numerous organic materials. Most of the finds date to the fourth and
fifth centuries AD.
Karanis had two temples built in the
Egyptian style of stone, the larger of the two is in the 1st century
BC. There were two main roads that crossed the town and numerous
smaller lanes next to it. The mudbrick houses were originally
several stories high. Ceilings were wooden beams. To the street
there were usually large windows. The interior walls were usually
simply plastered and not further decorated. There were some painted
niches depicting deities, apparently house shrines. There are partly
preserved the wooden doors as well as the keys to lock them. Papyri
indicates that usually several families lived in each house.
In the place were also several large granaries. A special feature
are the once numerous dovecotes , of which five were largely
preserved during their exposure. Since many of the dovecotes were
built on the roofs of the houses, they inevitably collapsed first.
Three of these towering dovecotes have a square base of 4.5 meters
side, the only door opening in 3 meters height can only be reached
via a ladder. Into the mud brick walls clay pipes were embedded as
nesting places. In form and function, they correspond to the
dovecotes, which are still found 2000 years later from the Nile
delta to Nubia.
In the houses were partially still
well-preserved furniture, such as tables or seats. Niches in the
walls served as shelves. In general, the yield of all kinds of
everyday objects, such as baskets , glasses, wooden tools, scraps of
cloth, but also toys, in the excavations was very large. Numerous
papyri give an insight into the lives of the inhabitants. From the
years 171-175 AD, tax lists are preserved. But there were also
private letters, contracts and population lists.
excavated between 1924 and 1935 by the University of Michigan .
Alone 45,000 found objects have been brought to Michigan. The rest
remained in Egypt.