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Cleopatra's gems rise from the deep
London Times ^ | 5/11/06 | Roger Boyes

Posted on 05/11/2006 6:14:37 PM PDT by wagglebee

Franck Goddio shows off one of the sculptures he found (Markus Schreiber/AP)

Cleopatra's gems rise from the deep

Hundreds of priceless finds will shed light on 1,500 years of Ancient Egyptian history

THE lost world of Cleopatra’s palaces has been dug out of the muddy Mediterranean sea bed by a man dubbed the Underwater Indiana Jones.

The results of Franck Goddio’s excavations, comprising 500 priceless finds that shed light on 1,500 years of ancient history, will be put on public view today for the first time.

President Mubarak of Egypt will open the exhibition in Berlin, and it will later transfer to Paris and London and eventually to a specially prepared site in Egypt.

“It was an astonishing feeling to find and handle beautiful objects that have been touched by Cleopatra,” said M Goddio, a 58-year-old Frenchman who abandoned a career as a financial consultant to pursue his passion for maritime archaeology.

For the past 12 years he has been excavating the sunken harbour of Alexandria, the legendary lost city of Heracleion and the religious centre of Canopus.

Floods, earthquakes and erosion swallowed up these once-vibrant communities. Although some of the recovered fragments have been shown, they have never been put together in a single comprehensive collection.

The Goddio team discovered 5.4m (18ft) red granite statues of an Egyptian king, queen and the fertility god Hapi, as well as thousands of smaller statues of gods and rulers, masks of pharaohs, gold and stone jewellery, and an intact black slab pronouncing import duties on Greek products.

A bust said to depict Ptolemy XV, the son of Cleopatra (Christoph Gerigk/EPA)

One of the most significant discoveries was the fragment of a shrine, the Naos of the Decades, which made it possible for M Goddio to reconstruct the first astrological calendar in the world.

Among the treasures is a sphinx bearing the face of Ptolemy XII, the father of Cleopatra, a reminder that parts of the royal quarter with its temples, palaces and gardens were in Alexandria’s eastern harbour, where Julius Caesar, Mark Antony and Cleopatra stayed.

Working from 19th-century maps and the results of an early excavation by Prince Omar Tousson, M Goddio set about testing theories about the geography of the sunken harbour area.

What emerged was a picture of a remarkably well-designed metropolis divided by grand canals.

“We showed the designs to port engineers who told us that they couldn’t have done a better job,” he said. “It was not only an act of brilliant engineering it was also beautiful to look at.”

The port was developed by Ptolemy II, in 300BC.

Using magnetic resonance machines and sonars, M Goddio fished out the relics. Each fragment had to be freed from the effects of the seawater in an onboard laboratory.

The statues were descaled, chemically and electronically tested, and then restored.

M Goddio was initially regarded with suspicion by university archaeologists because he trained as a mathematician and came late to the profession.

But his passionate, slightly buccaneering manner has helped to attract sponsorship in a way that no academic archaeological team could have hoped to collect.

His high-tech explorations cost about €1 million (£680,000) a month, and tens of thousands of diving hours have been dedicated to excavating a few hundred metres of the ancient sites. The total area is thought to be about a square kilometre. He does not welcome comparisons with the maverick Indiana Jones. “I am not an adventurer,” he said yesterday. “My role is to avoid adventure since it is expensive, it wastes time and does not lead to a job well done.”

The exhibition at the Martin-Gropius-Bau, a converted Kaiser-era palace near the former Berlin Wall, will be open until September 4.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ancientegypt; cleopatra; cleopatravii; egypt; franckgoddio; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; heracleion; thonis
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To: wagglebee
I'm certain that almost nobody under the age of 50 would have the slightest idea how to use them.

I'm 45. I still remember some of it. Got one around here somewhere (in a nice gray plastic case)

21 posted on 05/12/2006 8:10:45 AM PDT by John O (God Save America (Please))
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To: wagglebee

A diver from Goddios team brings a white marble head to the surface. The piece of find originates from the Roman period that antique city Canopus
22 posted on 05/12/2006 8:22:07 AM PDT by hedgetrimmer ("I'm a millionaire thanks to the WTO and "free trade" system--Hu Jintao top 10 worst dictators)
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To: wagglebee
Here's another pic

23 posted on 05/12/2006 8:25:38 AM PDT by hedgetrimmer ("I'm a millionaire thanks to the WTO and "free trade" system--Hu Jintao top 10 worst dictators)
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To: wagglebee
"And then in 77 or 78 when the Radio Shack TRS 80 computers came out and they cost more than most cars did at the time."

More like '76. I had one of the first 500 built, and they cost $600. Cars were in $2700-5000 range then, IIRC. (New, as my TRS 80 was.) 4K level-1 basic. Later I expanded it to 16K, when the price of memory dropped to where that was $100. I had the $1000 expansion box a couple of years later, a year or so after they were introduced; it was pretty flakey, and I never got a floppy drive for it, but I had 48K of memory by then.

I wanted one of the HP calculator wrist watches; those were also about $600, now you can get something like it, but much more powerful, for a couple of dollars. My, how times change.

BTW, my old TRS-80 is still functioning at my BIL's house. He had to put about $200 into repairing it after a lightning strike in the early 80's, or so I'm told.
24 posted on 05/12/2006 5:50:47 PM PDT by Old Student (WRM, MSgt, USAF(Ret.))
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To: Old Student

You're right, I went back and did some research, it was the Level II model with the options that wound up being over $3000.00

25 posted on 05/12/2006 5:59:27 PM PDT by wagglebee ("We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." -- President Bush, 1/20/05)
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To: wagglebee

Yep. They were intended as business computers, competing with DEC's PDP-series minicomputers and the like. (and the Apple LIsa? that may have been later...) Those were around $10K or so for a 4K machine with no I/O. My wife, who is much younger than I, has a slide rule, though, and I've got a book on how to use them. We got them for Y2K, mostly as a joke. She took hers to school one day, in addition to her TI-83+ Silver edition...

I intended to put them in a glass case with an "IN CASE OF EMERGENCY..." sign on them, but she wouldn't let me. ;)

We got ours off EBay, they are probably still available there, if nowhere else.

26 posted on 05/12/2006 6:16:17 PM PDT by Old Student (WRM, MSgt, USAF(Ret.))
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To: bannie
"Won't they please bring it to Bakersfield???"

I heard that Oildale, Arvin or Cottentown had priority.Of course Pumpkin Center is also holding out for a better offer!

27 posted on 05/12/2006 6:30:12 PM PDT by fuzzthatwuz
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To: fuzzthatwuz

I was really hoping for McFarland--if not there, then Weedpatch.


28 posted on 05/12/2006 6:55:13 PM PDT by bannie (The government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend upon the support of Paul.)
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To: bannie

As Martha S. would say, "Weedpatch is a good thing!

29 posted on 05/12/2006 7:45:03 PM PDT by fuzzthatwuz
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