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Shurafa: Scenas Mandras (Skene Mandron)

About 2 km north of the modern village Shurafa are the ruins of a Roman to early Islamic town, which is most probably to be identified with Scenas Mandras ('the tents of the enclosures'), known from the Antonine Itinerary. It was the quarter of a regiment called Ala Septima Sarmatorum (mentioned in the Notitia Dignitatum) 'the seventh wing of the Sarmatians'. Sarmatians is the name of Iranian people originally living in the Ukraine and then moving to the area of modern Hungary. Under Diocletian some of them were settled in the Roman empire. The Latin word 'ala' denotes an equestrian unit. The town is also known as the seat of a bishop.

Scenas Mandras was most likely founded shortly before the third century AD. There are no earlier finds, other than some pharaonic objects that might have been reused. Mackay spent only a short period at the site recording the outline of the city walls and a fortress within. He also excavated parts of the cemetery, located to the north of the town. Mackay published some of the finds without providing a tomb register or descriptions of single tombs. Most of the finds from Shurafa are therefore without archaeological context.

some finds
plan of the site
3-D models of the town
UC 40598

Shurafa (Scenas Mendras) on a map of Egypt


  • 1899-1900 - G. A. Reisner
  • 1911 - Mackay (as part of a Petrie excavation)

Petrie/Mackay 1915: 40-48



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