New artifacts discovered from Heracleion, the ‘lost’ Egyptian city that sank into the Mediterranean Sea over a thousand years ago

The ‘valuable’ new discoveries were revealed by French marine archaeologist Franck Goddio and include gold jewelry, silver tableware, and an unusual pouring object in the form of a duck.


A Djed, an eerie porcelain hand that was discovered jutting out of the mud, and a pillar-like symbol from Egyptian hieroglyphs made of the blue stone lapis lazuli are also present.

Before Alexander the Great founded Alexandria in 331 BC, Heracleion served as Egypt’s principal Mediterranean port for many years.


Gold objects, jewellery and a Djed pilar (a symbol of stability and made of the blue stone lapis lazuli) were retrieved at the remains of Heracleion. They likely date to 5th century BC

Heracleion has been compared to Atlantis in Egypt, although unlike Heracleion, many people don’t believe the legendary island actually existed.


Goddio, who first uncovered Heracleion in 2000, called the new discoveries “precious” and “moving” on his website.

“They bear witness to the wealth of this sanctuary and the piety of the former inhabitants of the port city,” he said.

Heracleion was established in the early eighth century BC, and all ships sailing from the Greek world were required to enter Egypt through this port, according to Mr. Goddio.


A hand is emerging from the sediment during an archaeological excavation at Heracleion. It dates from the 5th century BC-early 4th century BC, probably from Cyprus

The ‘various natural calamities’ that Heracleion experienced before it completely submerged into the Mediterranean, most likely in the eighth century AD, were probably earthquakes and tsunamis.

The port city’s ruins are now submerged beneath the water, around four miles (7 km) from Egypt’s current coast.

The most recent excavation, carried out in July of this year, focused on the south canal of the buried city, which contains the ruins of a significant temple to the Egyptian god of the air Amun.


The city of Heracleion was one of the most important trade centers in the Mediterranean area. Before Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great in 331, Heracleion was the largest port city in Egypt

About 1,000 years before the entire city was destroyed, large pieces of stone from the temple crumbled during a “cataclysmic event” dating to the middle of the second century BC, according to Goddio.

At the site of the temple, they discovered silver ritual objects, gold jewelry, and delicate alabaster receptacles that were probably used for perfumes.

Two ceremonial plates made of silver, which was highly prized in ancient Egypt, were used for ‘libations for the gods.

Meanwhile, a stunning Djed was created from lapis lazuli, a semi-precious stone that has long been valued for its striking blue hue.


Two silver ritual dishes for libations for the gods from the temple treasure. Silver was considered extremely precious in ancient Egypt. An alabaster container for unguents and perfumes was found amongst them

“It is extremely moving to discover such delicate objects, which survived intact despite the violence and magnitude of the cataclysm,” Mr Goddio said.


They also discovered underground buildings supporting well-preserved wooden columns and beams from the fifth century BC beneath the temple.

They also found an ancient Greek shrine to Aphrodite, the goddess of sexual love and beauty, to the east of the Amun temple.


After excavation, an archaeological diver gazes at the huge blocks of the Amun temple, which fell in the mid-second century BC in the south canal of Heracleion. They were discovered under around 10 feet (3 metres) of hard clay

The sanctuary produced items made of imported bronze and ceramic, including a common object in the shape of a duck that was encircled by ceramic pots and shields.

Despite being dated the fourth century BC, the delicate pourer may have been used to pour wine, which could indicate Greek trade.


A delicate bronze duck-shaped pourer is discovered amongst ceramics of the 4th century BC on the site of a newly discovered Greek sanctuary to Aphrodite in ThonisHeracleion.

“This illustrates that Greeks who were allowed to trade and settle in the city during the time of the Pharaohs of the Saïte dynasty (664 – 525 BC) had their sanctuaries to their own gods,” Mr Goddio added.

“The presence of Greek mercenaries is also seen by numerous finds of Greek weapons.”

Despite the fact that the French explorer discovered Heracleion more than 20 years ago, new geophysical prospecting technology have made it feasible to find cavities and other artifacts buried beneath clay layers several meters thick, enabling them to find more objects.

The British Museum in London has already featured earlier discoveries from Heracleion, including statues of pharoahs and goddesses.


Under the floor level of the Amun temple, very well-preserved under-ground wooden structures were discovered. 5th century BC

There is no question that Heracleion existed, but Atlantis, to which it is compared, cannot be said the same.

Although it is purported that the alleged ancient city was destroyed and sunk beneath the Atlantic Ocean, most people think that Greek philosopher Plato dreamed it up.

Another study team said earlier this year that they had discovered Rungholt, which was sunk by a storm in 1362, Germany’s version of Atlantis.

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