(K. Brent Tomer),
SOME time, probably in the eighth century AD, earthquakes, floods and subsidence caused the Egyptian coast at Alexandria and towards the Nile delta to sink beneath the waves. Tantalising references in ancient Greek and Egyptian texts to cities and temples along that coast were all that was left of them. Then in 1933 a Royal Air Force pilot, flying over Aboukir Bay east of Alexandria, thought he saw something. He told Prince Omar Toussoun, an Egyptian scholar, who found marble and red granite columns two kilometres offshore. At last, here was concrete evidence. Wars prevented further investigation, but from the 1960s onwards teams of underwater archaeologists have been mapping and excavating a whole submerged Graeco-Egyptian world near Alexandria, the city founded by Alexander the Great after he took Egypt from the Persians in 332BC.
Now, for the first time, an exhibition arranged in collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities highlights the excavations begun in the 1990s by an underwater team headed by Franck Goddio, founder of the Institut Européen d’Archéologie Sous-Marine (IEASM). Using new…Continue reading