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Fruitful archaeological season for underwater excavations in Abu Qir Bay, Alexandria

Nevine El-Aref , Wednesday 24 Jul 2019
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Beneath the waves of the Mediterranean, underwater archaeologists were busy digging the sea-bed to uncover more secrets of the sunken cities of Heracleion and Canopus in Abu Qir Bay, in Alexandria.

During the recent archaeological season, which was extended up until the past two months, the Egyptian-European mission led by Frank Goddio, Head of the European Underwater Archaeology Institute (Institut Européen d’Archéologie Sous-Marine) has succeeded in uncovering the remains of a large settlement, a temple, shipwrecks and a collection of coins and jewellery.

Ihab Fahmy, Head of the Underwater Archaeology Department at the ministry of antiquities, told Ahram Online that through using a sophisticated scanning and archaeological surveying device, the mission discovered that the city of Canopus is larger than previously thought.

It extends one kilometre south. Inside this extension, Fahmy told Ahram Online, the mission uncovered remains of a port, clay pots from the Saite period, bronze and gold coins from the Ptolemaic and Byzantine eras. Jewellery like rings and earrings was also unearthed

“This suggests that this city has been inhabited since the eight century BC until the Islamic period,” Fahmy said.

In Heracleion, the mission found the remains of a new section of an ancient settlement with a new part of the city's main temple, which has been completely destroyed, remains of another smaller Greek temple, as well as ancient columns and pottery from the third and fourth centuries B.C.E, and bronze coins from the reign of King Ptolemy II.

A shipwreck of a 13 meters long sunken ship was also found lying on the sea-bed. Inside it was a collection of coins and pots. Studies and research will be done on the wreck to know more about it.

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