Skip to comments.A Thousand Relics Found in Egypt
Posted on 01/30/2004 6:08:35 AM PST by vannrox
A French-Egyptian archaeology team has retrieved more than 1000 artifacts, including statues and busts of pharaonic gods and goddesses, from the Mediterranean Sea floor off Egypt's northern coast of Alexandria, according to the Egyptian antiquities officials earlier this week. The 2003 Abu Qir Bay Department of Archeology Mission under the Supreme Council of Antiquities and the European Institute for Underwater Archeology unearthed artifacts during archaeological surveys which helped define the topography around the sanctuary site or the temple of Heracles. Dating back to the third and fifth centuries B.C. the finds reveal a cult that worshipped the ancient pharaonic deity Amon and his son Konshu in a bid to preserve the legitimacy of the Ptolemaic reign.
"The discovery includes tools and containers used in religious rituals," said Mohamed Abdel Maqsoud, a senior official in the Supreme Council of Antiquities. Quantities of ritual basins and cult offering objects laid on the sea floor on the channel situated north of the temple site. The French mission, led by Franck Goddio, has left for Paris, Abdel Maqsoud said, and its members could not immediately be reached for comment.
"The most impressive and beautiful item is a second century AD diorite bust of an unidentified person with long hair, which some believe (could be) the Nile god, Hapy," Zahi Hawass, head of the Supreme Council for Antiquities, said in a statement.
"Hapy must have been the pre-dynastic name for the Nile, but in later years became the name of the god of the great river; likewise the god of fertility symbolizing abundance of water, food and annual flooding of the Nile."
Farouk Hosni, Minister of Culture declared that the location of the discovery was previously the Temple of Heracles in Herculean, the ancient sunken city discovered in May 2001 by Goddio's team. The find included busts of Egyptian deities Isis, Osiris and Bastet.
All of the artifacts have been removed to be cleaned of seaweeds and salts and to be restored, the Supreme Council's deputy said.
The French team working in Abu Qir bay in the port city of Alexandria previously has found the 2000-year-old ruins of Cleopatra's palace and the flagship of Napoleon's fleet, L'Orient, which sank Aug. 1, 1798, in a battle with the British fleet of Admiral Horatio Nelson.
At press time, Goddio has been traveling around Europe and could not be reached for further comments.
However Dr. Ashraf Sabri, owner-operator of the Alexandria Dive on the Eastern Harbor next to the Scoot Club Anfoushy in Alexandria confirmed that artifacts are still being retrieved by divers from the eight-meter depth. Sabri's team offers tourists the opportunity to visit the site through the one-day archeology diving (one dive of 45 minutes at a depth of five meters) to the Abu Qir Heracleon city and Napoleon fleet wrecks, to the Antirodos Island or the 'Cleopatra and Marc Anthony 'underwater city with side-visits to the submerged World War II fighter plane.
Additional dives include the site of the Pharos Island, the site of the ancient lighthouse of Alexandria dotted with sphinxes, obelisks, columns and amphorae found within eight meters below the surface.
Is that a crustacean in your pocket, or are you just Hapy to see me?
It is with no comparison anywhere on this planet; Egypt is the most rich and fascinating historical region in the world. If they reign in their radical elements, and spend heavily in their tourist infrastructure (highways, hotels, car rentals, trains, first class restaurants
) they would earn billions from the tourist dollars. Perhaps they would even get off Uncle Sams dough.
You know, that's something to think about. There quite a few divers on FR.
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