Lost Egyptian city
In 2000, a team of of scientists, researchers and Egyptologists embarked on a true voyage of discovery:The European Institute for Underwater Archaeology under the stewardship of Franck Goddio set of from Alexandria to find a city which, up until that time, had been lost to the annuls of time: Thonis- Heracleion. Inspired by the relics of ancient texts, and rare transcriptions, what Goddio and his team found, was amazing stuff.
It is believed that around the eighth century BC Thonis-Heracleion was the original sea port for Egypt, long before Alexandria was built in 331 BC. The reason for the city’s submergence is still a point of conjecture: seismologists suggest a shift in the land in the Mediterranean basin dunked the port underwater; others suggest a sudden unexplained subsidence; others, an unexplained local meteorological phenomena, perhaps a liquidification of the soil. Despite the cause being unclear, the result was beyond doubt with the city slipping into the sea to be lost for nearly three millennia.
Findings to date include:
– The remains of more than 64 ships buried in the thick clay and sand that covers the sea bed
– Gold coins and weights made from bronze and stone
– Giant 16-ft statues along with hundreds of smaller statues of minor gods
– Slabs of stone inscribed in both ancient Greek and ancient Egyptian
– Dozens of small limestone sarcophagi believed to have once contained mummified animals
– Over 700 ancient anchors for ships
The discovery has prompted similar searches around the Alexandrian port, and Goddio is overseeing two other underwater sites including a sub-marine excavation of lost Alexandria, and Canopus, another pre-christian Egyptian metropolis.
For more information about the project, and others in the area, visit Franck Goddio’s site by clicking here
All pics via www.franckgoddio.org