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Ancient 1,200-year-old Egyptian city discovered underwater

2 years ago

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RYOT POINTS

Franck Goddio and divers of his team are inspecting the statue of a pharaoh. The colossal statue is of red granite and measures over 5 metres. It was found close to the big temple of sunken Heracleion.  ©Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation, photo: Christoph Gerigk

Franck Goddio and divers of his team are inspecting the statue of a pharaoh. The colossal statue is of red granite and measures over 5 metres. It was found close to the big temple of sunken Heracleion. ©Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation, photo: Christoph Gerigk

For centuries, tales of the fabled city of Heracleion have inspired the archeological community, but no one knew if it really existed or not — until now. A team of researchers have located the sunken harbor city 150 feet under Egypt’s Bay of Aboukir. Divers have been scouring the site and have uncovered a wealth of artifacts including 64 ships, 16 massive statues, 700 anchors and many gold coins and other artifacts.

The underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio is credited with finding the site and he dates the city to around the 8th century B.C. He believes it was swallowed by the sea around A.D. 700.

Head of a colossal statue of red granite (5.4 m) representing the god Hapi, which decorated the temple of Heracleion. The god of the flooding of the Nile, symbol of abundance and fertility, has never before been discovered at such a large scale, which points to his importance for the Canopic region. ©Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation, photo: Christoph Gerigk
Head of a colossal statue of red granite (5.4 m) representing the god Hapi, which decorated the temple of Heracleion. The god of the flooding of the Nile, symbol of abundance and fertility, has never before been discovered at such a large scale, which points to his importance for the Canopic region. ©Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation, photo: Christoph Gerigk

Goddio writes on his site: “We are just at the beginning of our research. We will probably have to continue working for the next 200 years for [it] to be fully revealed and understood.”

He believes that soil erosion contributed to the city’s demise: “It is now clear that a slow movement of subsidence of the soil affected this part of the south-eastern basin of the Mediterranean”.

It is said that Helen visited the city with her lover Paris not long before the onset of the Trojan war. Researchers and archaeologists are excited over the propects of turning up many more artifacts of extreme cultural and historical significance. The search continues.

RYOT NOTE: This is a great reminder of the importance of building right the first time. The builders of Heracleion were unfortunate not to have the surveying tools and advanced technology to know where and how not to build. But even today, thousands of years later, there are many communities in the developing world without access to safe and quality building techniques. That’s where Architecture for Humanity comes in. They use 21st century expertise to help communities in the developing world construct schools, homes and other community buildings. So if you want to be a part of something that will last a really long time and make a huge impact then make a donation to AFH right on this page and share this story!

 

 

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antique archaeology egypt middle east ocean sea statue
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Ancient 1,200-year-old Egyptian city discovered underwater

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