Rod el-'Air

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Local guide from Serabit

An interesting neighboring site to the temple is the passage of Rod el-'Air, Arabic for “Valley of  the Caravans or Camels.” This is one of the best places for understanding the larger site of  Serabit el-Khadim. About 5km east of Wadi Nasb, the site was discovered in 1930. It is clear  from the graffiti and inscriptions of Rod el-'Air that this site was one of the routes commonly  used by mining expeditions to reach Serabit el-Khadim.


 Because its rocks provide shade for a considerable amount of the day, it was used as a resting point on the way to the Hathor temple; graffiti, mostly of boats, animals and people are  preserved there; most of them dating to the Middle Kingdom. Other examples of graffiti at Rod el-'Air are probably dateable to the New Kingdom. The numerous scenes with boats at Rod el-'Air may correspond to the ship remains found at the site of Ain Sokhna, if it is correct that the mining expeditions to Serabit el-Khadim departed from Ain Sokhna across the Red Sea. The graffiti at Rod el-'Air tell their own story in two main repeated motifs: the boats and the mining axe. It seems that the ancient miner carving the message wanted to say, "I reached Serabit  by boat in order to work in the mines".

 


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