Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World
Box 1837 / 60 George Street
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: (401) 863-3188
Fax: (401) 863-9423
Karanis was an agriculturally-centered town located in the northern Fayyum. It was settled by Romans in the first century (B)CE (?) (evident in the lay out of the city/town). Its proximity to water makes the land there very fertile, hence why it was so agriculturally successful. Archaeological evidence found through excavation includes grain mill stones (as well as two story granaries!), olive presses, and amphorae (storage vessels for oil/wine). There is also evidence of a large wood economy at Karanis, found through testing of charcoal from the site. Other pertinent buildings within the site include two temples, the earliest of which dates from the 1st century BCE. Because of the dry conditions, large amounts of papyri have been preserved there and snatched up by archaeologists who are eager to read accounts of ancient daily life.
Posted at Nov 30/2010 03:51PM:
ian: Site itself is located in the uncultivated margins in order to keep irrigable land free for agriculture. Its demise during the Byzantine period is an indicator of a changing rural economy that is no longer able to maintain these larger productive villages. The result is decreased specialization of activities and overall productive capacity.