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Ancient oasis settlement found in Egypt

The 3,500-year-old remains of a settlement have been found by an oasis in Egypt, revealing evidence of desert trade routes during the early days of the Egyptian civilization.

The settlement at Umm el-Mawagir in Egypt’s Kharga Oasis, more than 300 miles (500 kilometres) south of Cairo, has been excavated for the past year by a Yale University expedition, whose initial findings suggest it was an administrative post with massive baking facilities, possibly to feed local troops.

“The amount of bread production was pretty amazing,” said John Darnell, head of the expedition, citing discoveries of ovens, bread moulds and storerooms at the site, far out of proportion to its size.

“It’s probably a good bet they were basically baking enough bread to feed an army, literally,” he said.

The site was home to a few thousand inhabitants and also includes remnants of mudbrick buildings, similar to those used for administrative purposes in the Nile Valley to the east, suggesting close contact between the two regions.

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