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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/29/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Sunken city of Heracleion yields countless treasures of ancient life

The fabled underwater city of Atlantis today remains mostly mythic - a lost civilization nestled on the ocean floor. However - thanks to modern technology, yet another sunken city, named Heracleion, lost off the coast of Egypt 1,2000 years ago, had been uncovered. And researchers have retrieved a wealth of treasures about ancient civilizations as a result.

Archaeologists have found remains of more than 64 ships, buried in the seabed four miles off the coast of Egypt, the largest number of ancient ships ever to be found in one place.

Archaeologists have found remains of more than 64 ships, buried in the seabed four miles off the coast of Egypt, the largest number of ancient ships ever to be found in one place.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/29/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Heracleion, Atlantis, sunken city, Egypt, archaeology


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The home of the temple where Cleopatra was inaugurated, Heracleion was one of the most important trade centers in the Mediterranean area before it vanished into what is now the Bay of Aboukir.

Researchers have now been able to create a map depicting life in the ancient trade hub. Heracleion was believed to be a legend, much like the fabled city of Atlantis until 12 years ago, when underwater archaeologist Dr Franck Goddio was searching the Egyptian coastline for French warships from the 18th century battle of the Nile. Goddio instead stumbled across the treasures of the lost city.
 
Removing layers of sand and mud, researchers discovered evidence of extraordinary wealth, painting a picture of what life was like in Heracleion, believed to have been at the center of Mediterranean trade more than 1,000 years ago.

Archaeologists have found remains of more than 64 ships, buried in the seabed four miles off the coast of Egypt, the largest number of ancient ships ever to be found in one place.

The team has dug up gold coins and weights made from bronze and stone which would have been used in trade and to calculate taxation rates.

"The site has amazing preservation," Dr. Damian Robinson, director of the Oxford Center for Maritime Archaeology at the University of Oxford says. "We are getting a rich picture of things like the trade that was going on there and the nature of the maritime economy in the Egyptian late period.

"There were things were coming in from Greece and the Phoenicians."

The legendary temple of Amun-Gereb where Cleopatra was invested with the power to rule Egypt has also been discovered. Said temple was the center point of Heracleion from which a Venetian web of canals and channels connected other parts of the city together.

Giant, 16-foot statues have also been reassembled on the seabed 150 feet below the surface before being brought ashore, as well as hundreds of smaller statues of Egyptian gods.

Led by Goddio, the term has yet to establish what cause the city to go down, but the main theory is that the unstable sediments Heracleion was built on collapsed, and in combination with a rising sea-levels, may have caused the entire area to drop 12 feet straight into the water.

"We are just at the beginning of our research," Dr Goddio vows. "We will probably have to continue working for the next 200 years."


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