Some 2,500 years ago, the opulent city of Thonis-Heracleion reigned as Egypt’s only port on the Mediterranean coast, serving as the entry for all ships coming from the Greek empire.
When earthquakes hit the region in the eighth century, the city disappeared in almost an instant, sinking into the sea. In the centuries that followed, Thonis-Heracleion was all but forgotten, existing only in ancient texts and rare archaeological finds.
Then, in 2000, a team of archaeologists led by Franck Goddio finally succeeded in locating, mapping and beginning to excavate the ancient city from its underwater location, according to Goddio’s website. Since his initial discovery, Goddio and other experts have continued exploring the ancient ruins.
The team’s latest discoveries included a temple dedicated to the Greek goddess Aphrodite dating to the fifth century B.C., Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said in a Sept. 19 news release. Inside the temple’s remains, experts found bronze and ceramic artifacts as well as the remains of wooden beams from ancient buildings.
Archaeologists also excavated a trove of artifacts from the city’s Western Temple of Amun, according to officials.
Among the discoveries was a pair of gold earrings in the shape of a lion’s head, a gold pendant, alabaster containers used to hold perfume and cosmetics, a set of silver dishes used for religious and funerary rituals, a limestone handle and a duck-shaped bronze jug.
Officials said the sunken city is about 4 miles off the coast of Abu Qir, which is on the northern coast of Egypt about 10 miles northeast of Alexandria.
Google Translate and Facebook Translate were used to translate a news release from Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.