Egypt Discovers Ancient Trading Post in Oasis

This undated photo released by the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities on Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010, shows the excavation of a bakery complex in the Kharga Oasis, more than 300 miles (500 kilometers) south of Cairo in the Western Desert of Egypt.
AP Photo
Egypt's antiquities authority announced on Wednesday the discovery of an ancient trading settlement in one of its desert oases dating back more than 3,500 years, a millennium older than previous discoveries in the area.

The Yale University mission discovered the settlement while excavating in Kharga Oasis, more than 300 miles south of Cairo in the Western Desert.

The site is on what was once a bustling trade route between the ancient Egyptian civilization in the Nile valley and the rest of Africa, said the statement from the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Mission head John Darnell said the site had a massive baking operation suggesting it may have been a food production center.

The site reached its peak during the latter years of the Middle Kingdom (1786-1665 B.C.).