began working at Berenike in 1994. This work quickly showed that the site was occupied into the sixth century CE. Archaeological evidence suggest two periods of intensive occupation, in the 1st to 2nd centuries CE, and the 4th to 5th centuries. During those busy times the city probably had a permanent population of about a thousand, much swelled when the fleets from India, sailing with the seasonal monsoons, were in port. Some of the buildings were downright luxurious:
In all periods of occupation the inhabitants of Berenike had access to luxury items, such as finely decorated glass and imported ceramic fine wares. Their houses, although built of local materials of poor quality, such as fossil coral heads, gypsum blocks and sand bricks, were furnished with rich tapestries. Some of the buildings were decorated with marble flooring or wall revetments, imported from Asia Minor. Most food was imported from the Nile valley, over a distance of at least 375 km (235 m). Water was supplied by a number of wells at the foot of the mountains of the Eastern Desert, approximately 8 km (5 m) from the town.web site includes a nice summary of each year's work.