New “treasures and secrets” have been discovered near the ruins of a sunken temple off Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, the European Institute of Underwater Archeology (IEASM) said in a press release on Tuesday.
The institute announced that underwater archaeologists led by French marine archaeologist Franck Goddio discovered the god Amun in the ancient port city of Tonis-Herakleion in the Gulf of Aboukir. God made further discoveries in the ruins of the temple. The huge stone blocks in the ancient temple on the Canal du Midi collapsed “during a cataclysmic event in the mid-second century BC”, the institute said. The Temple of Amun is said to be where the pharaohs “received the title of universal kingship from the supreme god of the ancient Egyptian pantheon.”
“Precious stones belonging to the heritage of the temple have been found, such as ritual silver vessels, gold jewelry and fragile alabaster containers for perfumes or salves,” IEASM said. “They testify to the wealth of this holy place and the devotion of the former inhabitants of the port city.” The archaeological dig, carried out jointly by Goddio’s team and the Underwater Archeology Department of Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, revealed what lies beneath the surface of the buildings, the institute said. It is supported by well-preserved wooden columns and beams from the 5th century BC.” “It is very moving to discover such exquisite objects that have remained intact despite the violence and scale of the disaster,” said Gaudio, who is president of IEASM and head of the excavation.
The discoveries were made possible by the development and use of new geophysical survey methods capable of revealing caves and objects “buried under layers of clay several meters thick,” the institute said. To the east of the Temple of Amun is a Greek temple dedicated to Aphrodite. It has been found to contain bronze and pottery. “This suggests that during the pharaohs of the Setid dynasty (664-525 BC), Greeks were allowed to trade and settle in the city, where they had shelter for their gods,” the institute says.
The IEASM said the discovery of Greek weapons also revealed the presence of Greek mercenaries in the area. “They defended the entrance to the kingdom at the mouth of the Canopic Bran River. The ruins of Thonys-Heraklion now lie on the seabed, 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) off the coast of present-day Egypt,” IEASM said. Alexander the Great Before Alexandria was founded in 331 BC, the city was Egypt’s largest port in the Mediterranean for centuries. “Sea-level rise and earthquake-induced tides triggered a liquefaction event that caused 110 square kilometers of the Nile Delta to completely disappear beneath the sea, taking the city of Tunis-Herakleion with it,” the institute said.
The city was opened by IEASM in 2000.