Russian underwater excavators working in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria have found a collection of sunken French artillery on the northern side of Pharos Island, near the city's eastern harbour and Qaitbay Citadel.
The find includes a collection of guns, pistols and cannons that were once onboard a French boat named Le Patriot, part of Napoleon Bonaparte's fleet during the French expedition to Egypt in 1798, said Egypt's Minister of Antiquities and Heritage Mamdouh El-Damaty.
The discovery at Alexandria's eastern harbour sheds more light on the importance of the location in ancient times.
Pharos Island is home to more than 5,000 artefacts and structural remains scattered over its 5,000 square metre surface.
These buildings, which once formed ancient Alexandria, were subjected to destructive earthquakes that led to the collapse of all the city's edifices.
The columns, statues, sphinxes and walls from the pharaonic and Greco-Roman eras now lie under Pharos Island along with the ruins of the city's once-legendary lighthouse, at the time considered an architectural wonder and – at 117 metres – the tallest building on earth.
Mohamed Mostafa, director of the Egyptian ministry's underwater archaeology department, said that the artillery items have been transported to the restoration laboratory at the Grand Egyptian Museum for study and restoration.