The cliffside carvings include the seal of a pharaoh, Mentuhotep IV, who ruled some 4,000 years ago. And in an article on Smithsonian.com, Tallet translated some of the hieroglyphics that accompany this royal seal. The lines read, “In year one of the king, they sent a troop of 3,000 men to fetch copper, turquoise and all the good products of the desert.” The words thus confirm the importance of Ayn Soukhna as a port.
Tallet’s second major find was another harbor site, Wadi al-Jarf, on the Red Sea. An English Egyptologist, Sir John Gardner Wilkinson, had in fact visited the area in 1823. However, Wilkinson misinterpreted what he saw there, believing the chambers cut into the rock face at the site were catacombs.