Archaeologists have discovered new treasures from Heracleion, the “lost” Egyptian city that sank into the Mediterranean Sea more than 1,000 years ago.
The “precious” new finds, shared by French marine archaeologist Franck Goddio, include gold jewelry, silver plates and a strange duck-shaped pouring device.
There is also a Djed, a pillar-shaped symbol in Egyptian hieroglyphics made from the blue stone lapis lazuli, and a mysterious ceramic hand that was found poking out of the sediment.
For centuries, Heracleion was Egypt’s largest port in the Mediterranean before the founding of Alexandria by Alexander the Great in 331 BC.
Heracleion has been described as the Egyptian version of Atlantis, although, unlike Heracleion, many doubt that the mythical island ever existed.
Gold objects, jewelry and a Djed pillar (a symbol of stability and made of the blue stone lapis lazuli) were recovered from the remains of Heraclion. They probably date from the 5th century BC
A hand emerges from the sediment during an archaeological excavation at Heracleion. It dates from the 5th century BC-early 4th century BC, probably from Cyprus.
What is Heraklion?
Heracleion is a lost ancient Egyptian port city that was probably founded around the 8th century BC
It suffered various natural disasters before completely sinking into the depths of the Mediterranean in the 8th century AD.
The remains are now found deep in the Mediterranean, about two miles off the Egyptian coast, near the ancient city of Alexandria.
Heracleion was rediscovered by a team led by French marine archaeologist Franck Goddio in 2000.
Before Alexander the Great founded Alexandria in 331, Heracleion was the largest port city in Egypt.
Goddio said that Heracleion “saw glorious times as an obligatory port of entry to Egypt for all ships coming from the Greek world.”
“It also had religious importance due to the temple of Amun, which played an important role in the rites associated with the continuity of the dynasty.”
Goddio, who originally rediscovered Heracleion in 2000, described the new findings on your website as “beautiful” and “moving.”
“They bear witness to the richness of this sanctuary and the piety of the ancient inhabitants of the port city,” he said.
According to Goddio, Heracleion was founded around the 8th century BC. C. and became the mandatory port of entry to Egypt for all ships from the Greek world.
However, Heracleion suffered “various natural catastrophes” (probably earthquakes and tsunamis) before completely sinking into the depths of the Mediterranean, probably in the 8th century AD.
The remains of the port city now lie under the sea, about four miles (7 kilometers) from the present-day coast of Egypt.
The recent excavation, carried out in July of this year, covered the southern canal of the lost city, where the remains of a large temple dedicated to Amun, the Egyptian god of the air, are located.
Huge stone blocks from the temple collapsed during a “cataclysmic event” dating to the mid-2nd century BC. C., Goddio said, about 1,000 years before the entire city was lost.
Among the finds at the temple site were silver ritual instruments, gold jewelry and fragile alabaster containers, probably for perfumes.
Two ritual plates intended for “libations to the gods” were made of silver, considered extremely precious in ancient Egypt.
Meanwhile, a beautiful Djed was made from the semi-precious stone lapis lazuli, long prized for its intense blue color.
“It is extremely moving to discover such delicate objects, which survived intact despite the violence and magnitude of the cataclysm,” said Goddio.
Below the temple area, they also found underground structures supported by well-preserved wooden posts and beams, dating back to the 5th century BC.
The city of Heracleion was one of the most important commercial centers in the Mediterranean area. Before Alexander the Great founded Alexandria in 331, Heracleion was the largest port city in Egypt.
Two silver ritual plates for libations to the gods from the temple treasury. Silver was considered extremely precious in ancient Egypt. Among them was an alabaster container for ointments and perfumes.
After the excavation, an archaeological diver views the massive blocks of the Temple of Amun, which fell in the mid-2nd century BC into the southern canal of Heraklion. They were discovered under about 3 meters (10 feet) of hard clay.
To the east of the temple of Amun they also discovered a Greek sanctuary dedicated to Aphrodite, the ancient Greek goddess of sexual love and beauty.
Imported bronze and ceramic objects were found from the sanctuary, including a customary duck-shaped object, which was surrounded by ceramic vessels and shields.
The delicate pourer, although it dates back to the 4th century BC. C., it could have been used to serve wine, which could suggest some form of Greek trade.
“This illustrates that the 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 shrines to their own gods,” Goddio added.
“The presence of Greek mercenaries is also evidenced by numerous finds of Greek weapons.”
Although the French explorer found Heracleion more than 20 years ago, new geophysical prospecting technologies have made it possible to detect cavities and objects buried under layers of clay several meters thick, allowing them to detect more objects.
A delicate bronze pourer in the shape of a duck is discovered among ceramics from the 4th century BC. C. at the site of a newly discovered Greek sanctuary for Aphrodite at Thonis Heracleion.
Well-preserved underground wooden structures were discovered below the ground level of the Temple of Amun. 5th century BC
Previous finds from Heracleion have already been displayed at the British Museum in London, such as statues of pharaohs and deities.
While there is little doubt that Heracleion existed, the same cannot be said for Atlantis, to which it is compared.
The supposed ancient city is said to have been destroyed and submerged under the Atlantic Ocean, but it is It is generally believed to have been invented by the Greek philosopher Plato.
Earlier this year, another research team revealed that they had found the German equivalent of Atlantis: the city of Rungholt, which was sunk by a storm in 1362.
Could this be the first look at a lost civilization linked to Atlantis? Archaeologists in Spain discover 2,500-year-old statues that may resemble the faces of an ancient society that mysteriously disappeared
Archaeologists in Spain have discovered 2,500-year-old statues believed to resemble the faces of a prosperous but mysterious ancient society.
Five stone busts dating back to the 5th century BC were found at Casas del Turuñuelo, a historical landmark in Guareña, southern Spain.
The site was built by the Tartessos, a civilization settled in the south of the Iberian Peninsula about 3,000 years ago.
But the Tartessos inexplicably disappeared, and their appearance has long been a source of speculation.
Tartessos has been linked to Atlantis, an ancient mythical city that was supposedly destroyed and submerged under the Atlantic Ocean.