On Christmas Day last year, Kathryn Bard got an unusual gift.
Working with her colleagues to remove sand from a hillside along Egypt's Red Sea coast, the Boston University archaeologist poked through a small opening that had appeared and felt . . . nothing. She had reached into the entrance to a human-made cave in which sailors stored their gear as many as 4,000 years ago.
Two days later, Bard's team found a larger cave nearby. The same ancient seafarers used this one, she and her colleagues surmised, as a temple or shrine.
These and other discoveries at what was once a port known as Mersa Gawasis offer an unprecedented look at the earliest known sea expeditions conducted for pharaohs. Egyptian archaeol