It’s been a busy month for Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities, from speculation about the contents of a mysterious black granite sarcophagus—three skeletons and some “mummy juice,” it turned out—to the discovery of an ancient ceramics studio in the southern province of Aswan.
The finding, announced by the Ministry on Thursday, July 19, occurred during work on a groundwater reduction project near the famed Temple of Kom Ombo, which dates back to the Ptolemaic dynasty (305–30 B.C.). The pottery workshop, however, is much older—it’s been dated to the Fourth Dynasty of Egypt’s Old Kingdom, or about 2575–2465 B.C., the same era that witnessed an explosion of pyramid construction. The ancient ceramic workshop includes a pottery wheel consisting of a limestone turntable with a hollow base.
“It is one of the rare finds that sheds light on daily life, industrial activities, and the development of art in ancient Egypt,” Mostafa Waziri, the secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, said in a statement quoted by the AFP. He added that the discovery demonstrated “the improvement and adaptation” of the tools people used during that era as they “responded to the demands of daily life.”