Archeologists have recently unearthed well-preserved artifacts from the ancient Egyptian city of Heracleion-Thonis. These ruins were buried deep in the Mediterranean Sea for over 1,200 years.
According to The Telegraph, ancient Greeks knew the recently resurrected city as Heracleion, while ancient Egyptians knew it as Thonis. In the year 200, a French underwater archaeologist Dr. Franck Goddio discovered the ancient city with his team from the European Institute for Underwater Archeology (IEASM) during a geophysical survey that lasted for four years. The ancient ruins were found resting more than 30 feet beneath the surface of the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Aboukir Bay, near Alexandria.
The city was believed to be a vital international trading hub, but also an important destination for religious pilgrimages. Thonis-Heracleion was also believed to be a mandatory port for every trade between the Mediterranean Sea and the Nile River.
About 64 shipwrecks were discovered during the 13-year excavation, along with more than 700 anchors, gold coins, weights from Athens, and humongous tablet slabs inscribed with ancient Greek and ancient Egyptian. The archeologists have also unearthed numerous religious artifacts including a 16-foot stone sculpture of an ancient god and limestone sarcophagi that may contain mummified animals.
There is a lot of speculation on how Heracleion-Thonis found itself beneath the Mediterranean. Experts believe that it was either an act of god or the result of human hubris. Heracleion-Thonis may have sunk into the Mediterranean Sea because of a massive earthquake that engulfed the international city. There’s also the possibility of the construction of large buildings on an unpredictable and unstable surface may have doomed Heracleion-Thonis to its final fate.
See more photos of their discovery over on The Telegraph’s website.
A new documentary will be released to highlight the 13-year excavation of Heracleion-Thonis and the discovery of its many mysterious riches. Check out video footage of the underwater excavation below: