Treasures From The Depths

The lost city of Herakleion, submerged for centuries, four miles off the Mediterranean coast of Alexandria, is once more showing the world some of it's many treasures that glorified Egypt and astounded anyone who visited it. How much time actually passed before the Tsunami caused by an earthquake far out to sea, engulfed the once magnificent city in the 8th century BC, submerging it without trace, sending it into the stuff of myth and legend. Until that is, the present day. And it is thanks to one man's vision. French Archaeologist, Frank Goddio. 

Yesterday, an excited Mr. Goddio showed off his latest treasures unearthed from what appears to be a seabed littered with priceless artifacts including, 3 huge pink granite statues-one of the Nile god Hapi-and others of an unidentified Pharaoh and Queen.

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Among the treasures, some of which are 2,800 years old, was a huge granite slab which turned out to be a tax demand. The inscription revealed it to be an edict from Pharaoh Nektanebos the 1st (378-362BC) who was collecting tradesman's money so he could build a shrine to the Goddess Neith. Apparantly it turned out to be a tax levy of 10 per cent on all Greek goods.

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Among other treasures brought to the surface was a massive statue of Isis. Other amazing finds include sunken ships, gold coins and jewellery. Thanks to an international team of divers, after 3 years, history is once again unearthed, 20 feet down on the seabed. 

"History is materialising in our hands." Egypt's culture minister Farouk Hosni said. Antiquities experts say the rediscovery of Herakleion is as important a find as Tutankhamun's tomb.

The French led team believe it will be 50 years to fully excavate the site, where houses, ports and temples are all remarkably well preserved.

Some of the artifacts have been dated to the 26th Pharonic dynasty in the 7th century BC.

"Hopefully", said Mr. Goddio, "There will be an international tour at the end of 2003."

Let us hope so. I for one can't wait.

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