Ross Thomas and Alexandra Villing delivered the fourth annual lecture of the Honor Frost Foundation on Thursday 10 December 2015 at the British Academy
The port of Naukratis was the earliest Greek port in Egypt, established in the late seventh century BC, long before the foundation of Alexandria. As a base for foreign traders and the port of the royal Pharaonic city of Sais, it was an important hub for long-distance maritime trade and cross-cultural exchange, and remained so until the completion of Alexandria. Excavations in 1884–1903 revealed extensive archaeological remains, including Greek and Egyptian temples, domestic and industrial structures.
The British Museum’s Naukratis Project, directed by Alexandra Villing, has since 2012 begun a new programme of fieldwork at the ancient port, directed by Ross Thomas and funded by the Honor Frost Foundation since 2013. One of its key aims is to investigate a central but hitherto neglected aspect of the site: its harbours and its development as a major international port city.