Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : Gold was plentiful in Egypt and had been used by the Pharaohs from earliest times as a means of asserting their power. But the history and archaeology of the mining and production of the Egyptian gold is a lot less known than the splendour of the country’s kings. Between 2013 and 2016, the French Eastern desert mission aimed to fill in these gaps in our knowledge through the excavation of the gold mining district of Samut, located between Edfu and Marsa Alam. It hosts one of the largest Ptolemaic mineral processing site of the region, Samut north. The excellent preservation of the remains made possible, for the first time, a comparison between archaeological remains and the well-known treatise of Agatharchides of Cnidus exposing the awful conditions of living in the gold mines of the Ptolemies. Besides, three other sites were explored: the impressive village of Samut el-Beda, dated to the New Kingdom, and two small villages of medieval times. In all the sites structures and artifacts related to the gold processing were unearthed, that held crucial data on the technological and organizational evolution of the gold exploitation over more than two millennia in the Eastern desert.