In ancient times, the city of Thonis-Heracleion, known in modern times as the lost kingdom of Cleopatra served as a gateway to Egypt. Today, this mysterious legendary city is submerged in Egypt’s Aboukir Bay, near Alexandria.
Why the city sank remains a mystery, but it was swallowed by the Mediterranean Sea and has been buried in sand and mud for more than 1,200 years.
New amazing underwater discoveries allow archeologists to piece together clues and to create an image of what life was like in the ancient city.
Known as Heracleion to the Ancient Greeks and Thonis to the ancient Egyptians the city was rediscovered in 2000 by French underwater archaeologist Dr. Franck Goddio and a team from the European Institute for Underwater Acheology (IEASM) after a four-year geophysical survey.
So far, 64 ancient shipwrecks and more than 700 anchors have been unearthed from the mud of the bay, the news outlet notes.
Other findings include gold coins, weights from Athens (which have never before been found at an Egyptian site) and giant tablets inscribed in ancient Greek and ancient Egyptian. Researchers think that these artifacts point to the city’s prominence as a bustling trade hub.
One mystery about Thonis-Heracleion remains largely unsolved: Why exactly did it sink? Goddio’s team suggests the weight of large buildings on the region’s water-logged clay and sand soil may have caused the city to sink in the wake of an earthquake.
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