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The Lost City of Heracleion

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#1 LFC

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Posted 05 August 2019 - 12:09 PM

What is kind of ancient Egypt's Atlantis was discovered and exploration is now revealing some amazing finds.


During an underwater expedition in 2000, divers saw a large stone head emerge from the murky dark waters. It was the head of the god Hapi, the personification of the Nile’s annual flood. Speaking to Archaeology.org in 2000, Goddio described the city of Heracleion as “an intact city, frozen in time.” It was almost like a sub-marine Pompeii.

In the past few months divers at Heracleion have discovered what can only be described as a treasure trove of artifacts from the site. Among the recent discoveries are gold jewelry, coins, and a missing piece of a large ceremonial boat that, when complete, measured 43 feet in length and 16 feet across. According to Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities, they also discovered two previously unearthed temples: the first was large and included stone columns while the second, smaller temple was crumbling and buried beneath 3 feet of sediment. Goddio and his team discovered the artifacts by using sophisticated underwater scanning tools that can locate and produce images of items buried under the seabed.

To date the excavation has also uncovered 700 anchors, 64 ships, numerous other gold coins, tiny sarcophagi used for the animals that were sacrificed to Amun-Gereb, a number of colossal statues like that of Hapi, and the temple of Amun-Gereb itself.

So what happened to the city?


Before its discovery, Heracleion (which was also known in the ancient world by its Egyptian name, Thonis) was almost the stuff of mythology. Though it is now buried several miles off the coast, Thonis-Heracleion was once a thriving port city. If you were bringing goods into Egypt, this is where your items would be taxed and inspected. The focal point of the city was a huge temple dedicated to the god Amun-Gereb, around which a network of canals snaked and flowed. In between them small islands housed residences, religious sites, and commercial buildings, almost like an ancient Venice.

By the fifth century, Heracleion was no more, its role as Egypt’s main port having been assumed by Alexandria in the second century. According to written records, a steady succession of earthquakes, perhaps as many as 23, struck North Africa between A.D. 323-1303. The most severe occurred in A.D. 365. The coastline fell and the cluster of cities that lay in the Canopic branch of the Nile vanished into the Mediterranean.

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#2 Bact PhD

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Posted 05 August 2019 - 12:50 PM

Really interesting.

I couldn’t help thinking, though—Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, circa 2600?
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