The cliffside carvings include the seal of a pharaoh who ruled some 4,000 years ago, Mentuhotep IV. 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 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. In fact, an English Egyptologist, Sir John Gardner Wilkinson, visited the area in 1823. But he misinterpreted what he saw there, believing that the chambers cut into the rock face at the site were catacombs.