Archaeologists uncover treasures from lost underwater city that has been compared to Atlantis
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Featured Image Credit: Christopher Gerigk/Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation
Archaeologists have uncovered stunning new treasures from the ‘lost’ Egyptian city Heracleion that sank into the Mediterranean Sea more than 1,000 years ago.
While it may all sound a bit like the plot of a new Indiana Jones’ flick, the rare new finds were actually discovered by French marine archaeologist Franck Goddio - and include gold jewellery, silver dishes and a Djed - a symbol of stability made from the semi precious blue-coloured stone lapis lazuli.
Goddio has worked in partnership with the Egyptian Ministry for Antiquities and has ‘mapped and investigated’ an area the size of Paris since 1997.
In fact, it was he and his team that rediscovered Heracleion more than two decades ago in the Bay of Aboukir - as well as parts of the city Canopus.
Goddio shared his latest finds on his website, where he wrote: “Precious objects belonging to the temple treasury have been unearthed, such as silver ritual instruments, gold jewellery and fragile alabaster containers for perfumes or unguents.
“They bear witness to the wealth of this sanctuary and the piety of the former inhabitants of the port city. The archaeological excavations also revealed, metres deep under the area of the temple, under-ground structures supported by very well-preserved wooden posts and beams dating from the 5th century BC.”
Until it plunged below sea-level, Heracleion had served as Egypt's largest port for centuries.
It's been compared to the lost city of Atlantis, but unlike Atlantis - which is almost certainly a myth - Heracleion is very real and has been explored by archeologists several times.
Goddio also found ‘imported bronze and ceramic objects’, which he says shows that ‘Greeks who were allowed to trade and settle in the city during the time of the Pharaohs of the Saïte dynasty (664 - 525 BC) had their sanctuaries to their own gods’.
He added: “The presence of Greek mercenaries is also seen by numerous finds of Greek weapons.”
The new discoveries were made thanks to ‘geophysical prospecting technologies’, which mean archaeologists were able to detect objects ‘buried under layers of clay several metres thick’.
Goddio says the city was founded around the 8th century BC and was a vital port for the country - but unfortunately, in future years it would be subject to ‘diverse natural catastrophes', which resulted in it sinking into the Mediterranean Sea.
The remains of the city are now around four miles out from the coast of present-day Egypt.