Egypt: Mysterious underwater city reveals sunken ancient temples and treasures

While conducting underwater exploration in a canal near Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, underwater archaeologists made a remarkable discovery: a submerged temple and sanctuary filled with ancient treasures associated with the Gods Amun and Aphrodite, respectively. 

As per the reports, the temple was originally dedicated to the God Amun, and held immense historical significance, as pharaohs visited it to receive the titles of universal kings. Unfortunately, during the mid-second century BC, the temple partially collapsed due to a catastrophic event. 

This temple was once an integral part of the ancient port city of Thonis-Heracleion, located in the Bay of Aboukir (also known as Abū Qīr Bay). Tragically, this thriving city, now submerged approximately 4.3 miles (7 km) from Egypt’s present-day coastline, met its demise when a devastating earthquake and tidal waves led to the liquefaction of the land, causing it to sink into the Nile delta. 

As archaeologists explored the temple’s depths, they unearthed a treasure trove of artifacts and secrets. These included silver ritual instruments, gold jewelry, and alabaster containers that once held perfumes and greasy ointments known as unguents. Additionally, they discovered underground structures supported by remarkably well-preserved wooden posts and beams, dating back to the 5th century BC. 

Referring to this, Franck Goddio, President of the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology (IEASM) and a leading French underwater archaeologist who spearheaded the excavations expressed deep emotion at the discovery of these delicate objects, which had to endure the cataclysm. 

In close proximity to the temple, archaeologists came across a Greek sanctuary dedicated to Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love. This sanctuary yielded a rich assortment of artifacts, including imported bronze and ceramic items. It provided compelling evidence that Greeks, during the Saïte dynasty of the Pharaohs (between 688 B.C. and 525 B.C.), had the freedom to trade and establish sanctuaries dedicated to their own deities within the city. 

Furthermore, the sanctuary held an intriguing collection of Greek weapons, suggesting the presence of Greek mercenaries at some point who may have been responsible for safeguarding the kingdom’s access at the mouth of the Nile’s westernmost branch, known as the Canopic branch. 

In short, this underwater archaeological exploration has unveiled an extraordinary glimpse into the past, with the discovery of a sunken temple, its associated treasures, and a Greek sanctuary, shedding light on the complex history and interactions that once thrived in this submerged Egyptian city. (Source: TOI)

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