Archaeological surveys at the site of Bir Umm Fawakhir in the central Eastern Desert of Egypt have clarified its role as a 5th-6th century gold-mining town. To date, 152 out of an estimated 216 buildings in the main settlement have been mapped in detail, eight outlying clusters of ruins have been identified, and four ancient mines have been inspected. In conjunction with Diodorus Siculus' first century b.c. account of Egyptian gold mining, the recent archaeological discoveries permit new insights into ancient Egyptian mining towns and techniques. Some evidence of activity at Bir Umm Fawakhir in earlier Roman, Ptolemaic, and pharaonic times has also been found.