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"Berenice, which, unlike Senskit, was only a commercial station, cannot well have existed before the time of the Ptolemies, and Ptolemy II. Philadelphia, formed here the emporium named in honour of his mother, the wife of Ptolemy Soter I, the ruins of which lie on a small elevation close to the shore of the west side of the Gulf; there is however no proper port anywhere in the immediate neighbourhood. The shore is flat and sandy, but as the adjacent hills and valleys are approached it becomes more cheerful from broad patches of grass, mimosa, and tamarisk trees ; the high mountain chains to the N. W., W., and S. W. impart a certain charm to the place. If an opinion may be formed from the extent of the ruins, the city must have been of considerable size. It does not appear to have possessed any fortifications. In about the centre of the place, and at the highest part of the same is a Temple constructed of large blocks of coral of very course grain and of recent formation ; the interior of the temple is inaccessible, it being covered with sand as high as the roof; and the surface of the stone is so ruined by the effects of the air and of saline earth, that without further excavations no inscriptions or ornaments are visible, with the exception of some hexagonal stars, placed at regular intervals on a piece of the ceiling, which has been removed. Signs of recent excavations are observable, and in the vicinity we found several copper nails, pieces of small bronze statues, numerous Roman coins, a sistrum of quartz, rough pieces of beryl, and a quantity of broken earthenware and glass vessels. The building materials appear to have come direct from the neighbouring bay, as it consists of unwronght lumps of madrepore. At the present day there is no water to be found on the coast of Berenice, which therefore is no longer inhabited, except during the cold season. Not a few families however of the Abubdehs are said to dwell in the mountains, with their goats, sheep, and camels. Nomade tribes inhabit the mountains between Suez and Djebel Ferajed, about 16 miles to the south of this, where the large tribe of the Beshamis begins, extending as far as the province of Suakin. In ancient times an easy road by land led through nine water stations to Diospolis and Koptu on the Nile. Probably the goddess Isis was worshipped in the Temple here, or at all events in the neighbouring city of Senskit, for I remember to have seen mention of an ' Isis of Senskit' in the inscription at Shiloe, and in the quarries near Assonan. At the time of the S. W. monsoon the sea level of the Golf of Berenice is said to be considerably higher than at present, and at that time, the large back ground, which now shows a number of dry places, and the further end of the bay, is quite overflowed, so that Arabian boats can run up there."
For examination of coast line, soundings, &c., I would refer to Mousley's Chart of the Red Sea, in four sheets; No. 2 Sheet, Latitude 23° to 25°, published in 1836.
Cosseir.—This place was reached at 8 A.m. on the 19th instant. We landed immediately and were taken by the Governor of the place, an old Officer of the Egyptian Navy, to his house, which forms also the Custom house; a large quadrangular building with upper story and open court-yard in the centre, where goods were deposited. It is curious that at Bunder Abbas at the entrance of the Persian Gulf, opposite the famous Island of Ormus, is a .precisely similar building; this would help to prove communication between the two ports, extending in all probability back to their first foundation. After the decline and abandonment of Berenice, the trade by sea from the great emporium on the Persian Coast would be continued to Cosseir alone, and is carried on to the present day, but to a very trifling extent now.
The town of Cosseir is situated immediately on the sea shore; landing is easily effected by means of a very fair wooden pier 80 yards long. It has all the appearance of having been once a well-to-do and flourishing place. The houses are all built of stone, sandstone, or chalk from the neighbouring hills, and the streets, which are kept scrupulously clean, are regular and at short intervals, running at right angles to each other. The bazaar showed a considerable number of shops, but they were nearly all closed and the few that were occupied showed very small store. The Governor informed me that since the railroad was made from Cairo to. Suez, and steamers ran regularly from that port to Jedda, Suakin, &c., trade had almost entirely left Cosseir. We visited the residence of the Telegraph Officials, a double-roofed, narrow wooden building on a hillock north of the town. It was closed and apparently well looked after. Below was the Telegraph Office, a small stone building. The Government Coal Dep6t was immediately behind, a large covered-in godown, the roof supported by stone pillars. There was no coal whatever, only a hundred or so old gunny bags- I inquired but could obtain no information as to how, or by whom the coal formerly deposited here had been expended. The oldest official in the place was only of six years standing, and no written record could be found. There is a Fort on the north side, but of no strength; square, built of rough blocks of stone and mud cement, having bastions at each corner, and double gate in the centre of the face opposite the town. The interior is open and clear; there is a parapet all round, and on the side overlooking the town and harbour six iron guns, 6-pounders, French, were mounted, one turned slightly towards the hills; down below was another iron gun of smaller calibre, dismounted, and a brass mortar on a bed, about 9 inches, having on it a French inscription to the effect that it belonged to the French Republic, with the words " Liberte EgaliteV' There was a well inside the Fort, but the water in it was very salt and unfit for use. Harbour there can be said to be none. It is a purely open road-stead, protected somewhat from the north-westerly winds and swell by the coast running round slightly to the eastwards to a point at the extremity of which is a coral reef extending a short distance further out. Within this point and reef is another coral bed, ending abruptly and in a strait line for about 400 yards at right angles to the shore immediately opposite the Custom House. Along this line countryvessels lie, moored stem and stern. At two hundred yards farther out and still protected somewhat by the point is good anchorage in seven fathoms. But should strong winds from the S- E., S., or S. W. set in, the position would be a dangerous one, being utterly unprotected in those directions.
The Governor had with him two Europeans, one a Greek, who announced himself as Agent from the Egyptian Government, the other a German, Doctor and Geologist. They all agreed that the climate was excellent, a sea-breeze always prevailed, and the thermometer was never known to exceed 26° of Reaumer or less than 90° of Fahrenheit. The Doctor said there was scarcely any sickness in the Town, mortality about 12 per annum only, and, last year, when cholera existed so generally, they had only three cases. The life is monotonous, but they vary it occasionally by a trip to the hill. The road they said was very easy and a good camel would reach Genah in three days. The want of good water at Cosseir is a great drawback ; drinking water has to be brought from a place 24 hours distant. We returned on board by 11 A-m. and proceeded on to Suez, which was reached this morning
I am about to disembark to avail myself of the leave granted by His Excellency the Governor iu Council.
Art. VII.—MEMORANDUM On The GEOLOGICAL ACTION On The SOUTH COAST Op KATTYAWAR, And In The RUNN Of KUTCH. By William Sowerbt, Esq., C.E., F.G.S. Contributed by the Author.
Read before the Society, September 26th, 1867.
The attention of the Government of Bombay was some short time ago directed by an article in the Bombay Saturday Review to two very important questions, namely, the filling up of the eastern shores of the Gulf of Cambay, and the supposed depression of the Runn of Kutch.
The question was referred to Professor Oldham, Director of the Geological Survey of India, for his opinion and advice, and his Memorandum was recently published, together with a resolution determining to have proper soundings made and also suitable bench-marks fixed in order to determine the question of the depression of the Runn. The relative elevation of these permanent bench marks was to be ascertained with reference to the "Mean sea level," and in order to fix the "Mean sea level," a series of observations were to be made extending over several lunations.
In his Memorandum Dr. Oldham observed that "these evidences of a change in the relative level of land and sea derived from facts observed in the Runn of Kutch, are only a very small portion of similar facts which have been noticed elsewhere round the Coast of India. These occur almost everywhere along the entire coast, and for the most part they point to a rise in the land."
Dr. Oldham also says, in another part of his memorandum, '"that in every case in which such a secular change of level has been established, the change has not amounted to more than a few inches, or a foot or two in a hundred years." ' It is thus evident that he regards these secular changes of level or gradual upheaval as established facts, and indeed this theory of the gradual rise or depression as the case may be, is one that is very commonly accepted by Geologists, whereas the real truth is that there is a gradual alteration of the "Mean sea level," which is easily accounted for by causes not difficult to understand or explain, without much theorising on the subject.
It is a well-known fact that the tidal rise varies in different localities along every coast line. At Cochin, for instance, there is little or no tide, while at Bombay there is about 12 feet; at the mouth of the Taptee 19 feet; and at the head of the Gulf of Cambay it is 28 feet. Between Kinnaird Head on the East Coast of Scotland (where the tidal rise is 11 feet) and Lynn Deeps (where it rises 23 feet) there is a difference of 12 feet; while on the Dogger Bank in the middle of the North Sea, there is a perceptible rise of only one foot, as ascertained by Captain Hewitt; and on the opposite coast of Europe the tide is about 10 feet. Consequently during flood-tide the surface of the ocean assumes a concave form, while during ebbtide it is of a convex form. This fact was also proved by the Rev. Dr. Whewell, Trinity College, Cambridge.
It has been assumed by Geologists that, from ascertained data, having reference to the "Mean sea level," the Coast of Norway has been gradually rising; but it is a much more reasonable assumption, where such extraordinary differences of level are known to exist in the adjacent seas, that the mean sea level has become depressed, or rather that the flow of the tidal wave has been gradually diverted by the growth of banks in the bed of the sea, or by some deflective influence consequent on the removal'or formation of shoals or head-lands by the tidal scour, and tidal deposit.
Mr. Murray has, in a paper read at the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1861, fully discussed this important point as regards the German Ocean, and has completely proved that the accretion and denudation of the land is entirely due to tidal action, and is no way due to the gradual rising or depression of the land itself by volcanic action ; sudden local depressions and elevations have taken place, doubtless caused by earthquakes, but where there is what is termed "an apparent gradual depression or upheaval," it is really nothing but a change in the relative elevation of the tidal wave.
In the memoir submitted to Government in 1864 by the writer of this memorandum, on the Havens of the Western Coast of India, the silting up of the Gulf of Cambay is alluded to, and the action of the tidal wave shown and discussed, as will be seen in the following extract:—