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Ancient Phoenician city of Auza located

Auza, the earliest Phoenician city in Africa may have been located closer to Egypt and Phoenicia than experts previously believed.

Scholars know Auza existed from written records, but its exact location has never been proven. By studying ancient maps and records, emeritus classics professor Sir John Boardman of the Beazley Archive at Britain’s University of Oxford was able to locate a more likely site for the ancient city, he said.

“This is simply a matter of making a suggestion of where the place is actually to be located on a map,” Boardman told LiveScience. “Too many people have wanted to put it much too far away.”

Where previous historians have thought this outpost was probably far to the west, beyond Carthage in Tunisia (the northernmost country in Africa), Boardman submits that Auza lies at a site known as Aziris nearer Egypt and Phoenicia, the home base of the Phoenicians centered on modern-day Israel and Lebanon.

Auza was a port city used to give the Phoenicians a foothold on the continent of Africa. The site of Aziris would have provided “good anchorage, with a defensible promontory and easy access inland,” Boardman wrote in a paper describing his findings published in the August issue of the Oxford Journal of Archaeology.

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