The submerged city of Heracleion, discovered back in 2000, continues to yield stunning archaeological treasures. The city, once called Thonis-Heracleion, thrived near present-day Alexandria.
Exploration in the submerged city of Heracleion unveils a remarkable ancient gem: a temple dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite, shining new light on Greek presence in ancient Egypt.
The submerged city of Heracleion, discovered back in 2000, continues to yield stunning archaeological treasures. The city, once called Thonis-Heracleion, thrived near present-day Alexandria. Now lying 10 meters underwater and 2.5 kilometers off the coast in the Bay of Abu Qir, explorers have unearthed a temple devoted to Aphrodite from the 5th century BC. Bronze and ceramic idols from Greece helped identify the ancient structure.
This discovery holds remarkable significance. It showcases that the Greeks, permitted to trade and settle in Heracleion during the reign of the pharaohs of the Saite dynasty (664-525 BC), maintained their distinct religious practices. The European Institute of Underwater Archaeology (IEASM) highlights the exceptional insight this find provides into the Greek communities of ancient Egypt.
Unveiling Ancient Artifacts
Additionally, explorers found a series of weapons belonging to Greek mercenaries. As the IEASM explains, these soldiers guarded the entry to the Kingdom at the Nile’s Canopus branch, which was the most navigable in ancient times.
This is not the first monumental find for the team. Earlier, they discovered a temple dedicated to the Egyptian god Amun, further enriching our understanding of Heracleion.
The Decline of Thonis-Heracleion
Before Alexandria’s founding in 331 BC by Alexander the Great, Thonis-Heracleion was Egypt’s preeminent Mediterranean port. Environmental factors like rising sea levels and earthquakes leading to tidal waves and land liquefaction made a significant portion of the Nile Delta vanish beneath the sea between the 3rd century and 2nd century BC, dragging the illustrious city along.
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