Ports and Stops on the
Maritime Incense Route
 
Sumhuram
Cane
Aden
Muza
Berinece
Philotera
Myos Hormos
Leuce Kome
Alia
Hawara
Gryn
Ayl
Rekem, (Petra)
Sela
Wadi Arabah
Wadi Fiqreh
Obodat
Ruheiba
Elusa
Gaza (Jenysos)
Alexandria

Further Information
Who were the ancient Arab Sea Traders?
Southern Arabia
Ancient Sailing and Navigation
History & Construction of the Dhow
Camels
Parallel Maritime Histories
The Incense Road

Myos Hormos

For many years the location of the northern Egyptian port on the Red Sea was unknown. Ancient historians like Strabo and the writer of The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea' gave us know clue to it's exact location. The ancient historian Strabo tell us:

Next is Myus Hormus, which is also called Aphrodite's Hormus, it is a large harbor with an oblique entrance. In front are three islands; two are covered with olive trees, and one (the third) is less shaded with trees, and abounds with guinea-fowls. ( Geography, c. 22 CE XVI.iv.4-17)

For many years it was thought to be located in the Gulf of Suez. However, in 1993 it was discovered that it was really located at Quseir. The site of Quseir al-Qadim (old Quseir) lies 8 km north of the modern town of Quseir. It was the subject of exploratory excavations between 1978 and 1982 (Whitcomb and Johnson 1979; 1982a,b), when it was thought to be the relatively minor Roman port of Leucos Limen.

In 1993, researchers from the University of South Hampton suggested that old Quseir was in reality the site of Myos Hormos. This port was a hub for trade during the Ptolemaic and Roman periods and was engaged in trade with India and perhaps China. It was by any standards one of the great trading centers of the ancient world. It was through Myos Hormos and its sister port Berenike that Rome obtained luxury items from the Orient, such as spices, silks and pearls in exchange for goods such as wines, fine pottery, glass and textiles.

Then in 1994, ostraca from the French excavations on the road between Quseir and Qift, showed that beyond doubt, the port at the end of the road was indeed called Myos Hormos Since then archeological work has demonstrated that the road ends at Quseir al-Qadim (rather than Quseir) and amongst the ostraca recovered at the site was one bearing the name ‘Myos Hormos’. It seems inescapable that Quseir al-Qadim is Myos Hormos, a trading port renowned throughout the ancient world and today of immense importance to scholars in India, Egypt, the Mediterranean and beyond.

You can learn more about Myos Hormos through this link: http://www.arch.soton.ac.uk/Research/Quseir/