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.

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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.

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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
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