Egypt: Alexandria's Submerged Monuments

Alexandrias Submerged Monuments

Divers of the coast of Alexandria create a mold of hieroglyph inscriptions carved on an obelisk dating to Seti I

Over its long history, Alexandria has been the cradle of several civilizations of the ancient world; Pharaonic, Hellenistic and Roman. This multicultural museum lies safely under Alexandrias Mediterranean coastal waters, that, during the Fifth Century B.C. formed part of the ancient city of Alexandria and was devastated by earthquakes and tidal erosion.

In view of the lack of scientifically verified information of a relatively obscure epoch of Egyptian history, a project was initiated in 1992 by the Supreme Council for Antiquities, in cooperation with the European Institute of Submerged Antiquities, to make a topographic survey of the area of royal facilities at the submerged parts, specifically the Eastern Port, which commands a major historical importance.

Exploratory operations resulted in the following:

An overall topographic picture of the submerged royal quarter in ancient Alexandria.

A number of 1300 sites were located at sight and cleared of attaching sediments.

Six archaeological maps were drawn up, showing accurately the topography of several areas of major historical significance.

These operations have allowed a full panorama of the reputed Magnus Portus. Major discoveries then followed as landmarks of the isles of Pharos (referred to in Homers Odyssey (7th Century B.C.) and Interodos started to unfold, with their royal palaces, statues and decorations. Several antiquities such as two statues of the Sphinx, of which one is made of grey granite and the other of durite, were broken up as a result of natural disasters. These structures are indicative of the dense constructions along the eastern coastline.

These discoveries made over the years 1996, 1997 and 1998 have given impetus to further explorations of the seaport basin and the fathoming of depths.