Complete Ancient Cities Found Underwater Off Egypt
Egypt (Reuters) - Archaeologists showed off relics retrieved
from the nearly complete ruins of ancient cities they
said they had discovered on the seabed off the Egyptian
The joint French and Egyptian team said the cities of
Menouthif and Herakleion, submerged more than 1,000 years
ago, lay in five to 10 meters (15-30 feet) of water about
six km (3.75 miles) off the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.
``We are very excited because we are used to finding the
remains of a tomb, a church or a mosque, but this time
we are finding complete cities -- cities that were heard
about from the classical writings,'' said Gaballah Ali
Gaballah, head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.
probably they disappeared because of seismic causes,''
said Franck Goddio, head
the Paris-based European Institute of Marine Archaeology.
A rise in the Mediterranean sea level and sudden submersion
caused by earthquake, or climate changes, could explain the
annihilation of the cities, he said.
The cities were legendary in antiquity for their wealth and
arts as well as their many temples dedicated to the gods Serapis,
Isis and Osiris.
An intricately carved 1.5-meter (five-foot) black granite
statue of Isis was shown to the media after being raised from
Also discovered during two years of undersea exploration were
the head of a pharaonic statue of a sphinx, jewellery and gold
coins dating from the Byzantine and Islamic eras.
The archaeologists said the coins showed the region had not
been submerged until the eighth century, although the cities
had been founded many hundreds of years earlier.
The archaeologists said they had also identified two other
submerged cities in the same area, Canopus and Thonis, but
had not yet retrieved relics from them.