Mons Claudianus and Mons Porphyrites

Professor Valerie Maxfield

Professor Val Maxfield's research is focussed on the frontier provinces of the Roman Empire and is particularly concerned with the organisation and role of the Roman army. She is currently involved in two related projects in the Red Sea mountain area of Egypt's Eastern Desert.

Mons Claudianus and Mons Porphyrites are both the sites of Roman imperial quarries where high quality stone was extracted for use in prestige buildings and (in the case of the porphyry from Mons Porphyrites) for statuary. The sites, which have lain untouched since the Roman period, are remote from human habitation and have survived in a remarkable state of preservation. However, they are now threatened by the development of tourism in the Red Sea area. Extensive survey and selective excavation is aimed at investigating the nature, organisation and functioning of the quarries and their associated settlements whose working was supervised by the Roman military.

Arising from this work, Prof Maxfield has embarked on an investigation into the general problem of the deployment of the Roman army in Egypt, its role in the maintenance of security and the supervision of imperial projects, and the nature of its bases in Nile Valley and Eastern Desert.

These projects are carried out in collaboration with colleagues from the French Archaeological Institute in Cairo and the Universities of Brussels, Copenhagen, Leicester, London and Southampton.

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