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Egypt & the Pyramids => Egypt: Latest Discoveries => Topic started by: Bianca on May 23, 2007, 06:33:08 pm



Title: Relics of Alexandria recovered from the Mediterranean
Post by: Bianca on May 23, 2007, 06:33:08 pm




(http://msnbcmedia3.msn.com/j/msnbc/Components/Photos/061217/061217_egyptian_hmed_515p.hmedium.jpg)


Title: Re: Relics of Alexandria recovered from the Mediterranean
Post by: Bianca on May 23, 2007, 06:52:59 pm





ABOVE:

 A visitor to the "Egypt's Sunken Treasures" exhibit at Paris' Grand Palais looks at a pharaoh's head made of diorite stone.




EGYPT'S SUNKEN TREASURE ON EXHIBIT.

 
By Jenny Barchfield

 The great port of Alexandria was a bustling trade hub, a transit point for merchandise from throughout the ancient world until much of it vanished into the Mediterranean Sea.

Treasure hunters have long scoured the Egyptian coast for vestiges of the port, thought to have disappeared about 13 centuries ago. Now an exhibit at Paris' Grand Palais brings together 500 ancient artifacts recovered from the area by underwater archeologists using sophisticated nuclear technology.

"Egypt's Sunken Treasures" features colossuses of pink granite, a 17.6-ton slab inscribed with hieroglyphics, a phalanx of crouching sphinx, pottery, amulets and gold coins and jewelry all painstakingly fished out of the Mediterranean. Some of the oldest artifacts are estimated to have spent 2,000 years underwater.


The show spans more than 1,500 years of Egyptian history and traces the decline of the Pharaohs and occupations by Greeks, Romans and Byzantines.

"This is not your usual Ancient Egypt exhibit," said archaeologist Franck Goddio, who led the expedition for the European Institute of Submarine Archaeology. "The artifacts have been living together under the sea for millennia not gathering dust on a museum shelf."

Goddio's team began its search in 1996, using such technology as sonar, depth-finders and sounding equipment. They worked with France's Atomic Energy Commission to develop a device that measures objects' nuclear resonance to pinpoint the exact locations of the port and two other sites, the lost cities of Herakleion and Canopus.

Television screens projecting videos of the excavations dot the exhibit, in the newly restored Grand Palais, a turn-of-the-century building with a vast glass cupola.

While some of the recovered artifacts were slowly swallowed by the Mediterranean as sea levels rose, others sunk during natural disasters, such as earthquakes and tidal waves. Experts think some heavy objects may have slid into the sea when the clay soil gave way under their weight.

A protective layer of sediment settled over most of the pieces, preserving them from corrosive salt water. Other artifacts were not as fortunate. Riddled with pockmarks or rubbed smooth by the tides, these objects clearly bear the mark of their centuries under water.

Some of the oldest pieces, such as a sphinx dating from the 13th century B.C., were brought to Egypt's coast from other regions of the country. Later objects clearly show the influence of the Greeks, who controlled much of Egypt starting in the fourth century B.C.

In an exquisite black-granite sculpture, the ancient Egyptian goddess Isis strikes a quintessentially Pharaonic pose, with one leg forward and arms pressed tightly at her sides. But the sensual drape of her gown, with its delicate folds, belies an unmistakably Greek touch.

The Stela of Ptolemy, a mammoth marble slab standing 19.5 feet high, bears inscriptions in both hieroglyphics and Greek.

Sculptures from the Greco-Roman period show the degree to which the European colonizers assimilated Egyptian culture, and vice versa. In a second century B.C. bust, the Egyptian god Serapis looks just like the Greek god Zeus, with a full beard and curly locks. With its wild expression and frizzy hair, a second century A.D. bust of an Egyptian water god is the exact image of a Roman Bacchus.

One of the most impressive objects in the show is the so-called Naos of the Decades, a hieroglyphics-covered prayer niche dating from around 380 B.C.

The roof of the niche was discovered in 1776 and taken to Paris, where it became part of the Louvre Museum's permanent collection. In the 1940s, archaeologists working under Egyptian Prince Omar Toussoun discovered two more bits the naos' back and the base. But it wasn't until the recent submarine excavations, which uncovered several more fragments, that archaeologists finally managed to put the naos together again.

"Egypt's Sunken Treasures," attracted some 450,000 visitors at its first stop, Berlin. After Paris, the show will return to Egypt. Authorities in Alexandria plan to build a museum of submarine archaeology to hold the artifacts as well as new items that archaeologist Goddio's team continues to discover during its twice yearly expeditions.

"There's enough in the three sites to keep us busy for a while for about the next 150 years, at least," he said.




Title: Re: Relics of Alexandria recovered from the Mediterranean
Post by: Bianca on May 23, 2007, 07:03:59 pm




Ancient cities found under the sea
Last Updated: Sunday, June 4, 2000 | 7:13 AM ET
CBC News



Archeologists scouring the Mediterranean Sea off Egypt say they have found stunning treasures beyond their wildest dreams.
They have retrieved the nearly complete ruins of two submerged cities, six kilometres from Alexandria.

Some of the relics date back to the days of the Pharaohs.

Divers found jewelry and coins from bygone eras and priceless artifacts of figures mentioned in ancient literature, including a black granite statue of Isis.

What they've recovered so far has been put on display in an Alexandria gallery. It's the first time virtually complete cities have been found under the sea.

Archeologists believe the cities of Menouthif and Herakleion, built 2,500 years ago, probably disappeared because of an earthquake or climate changes.




Title: Re: Relics of Alexandria recovered from the Mediterranean
Post by: Bianca on May 23, 2007, 07:08:04 pm




(http://travelvideo.tv/news/images/uploads/Relics.jpg)


Title: Re: Relics of Alexandria recovered from the Mediterranean
Post by: Bianca on May 23, 2007, 07:14:41 pm




ABOVE:  A statue being spotted under the sea off Alexandria







A Thousand Relics Found in Egypt


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  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.

By Hazel Heyer
eturbonews.com



 


Title: Re: Relics of Alexandria recovered from the Mediterranean
Post by: Bianca on May 23, 2007, 07:20:00 pm




(http://www.cnn.com/TECH/9711/09/egypt.underwater.museum.ap/treasures.jpg)


Title: Re: Relics of Alexandria recovered from the Mediterranean
Post by: Bianca on May 23, 2007, 07:23:27 pm




(http://www.touregypt.net/teblog/alexandrianews/wp-content/uploads/2006/12/ALEX98CGCLE010.jpg)


Title: Re: Relics of Alexandria recovered from the Mediterranean
Post by: Bianca on May 23, 2007, 07:27:47 pm



(http://www.egyptologyonline.com/500x166%20alexandria%20underwater.jpg)


Title: Re: Relics of Alexandria recovered from the Mediterranean
Post by: Bianca on May 23, 2007, 07:28:45 pm




(http://www.ancientegyptmagazine.com/images/underwater_2.jpg)























Title: Re: Relics of Alexandria recovered from the Mediterranean
Post by: Bianca on May 23, 2007, 07:46:01 pm




(http://www.egyptologyonline.com/500x215%20Alexandria%20underwater%20statue.jpg)


Title: Re: Relics of Alexandria recovered from the Mediterranean
Post by: Bianca on May 23, 2007, 07:48:40 pm




(http://alexandriatour.com/alexto2.jpg)


Title: Re: Relics of Alexandria recovered from the Mediterranean
Post by: Bianca on May 23, 2007, 07:53:58 pm



(http://www.abc.se/~pa/mar/img/egypt/sphinx.jpg)


Title: Re: Relics of Alexandria recovered from the Mediterranean
Post by: Bianca on May 23, 2007, 07:57:41 pm


(http://www.culture.gouv.fr/culture/archeosm/archeosom/imatges/archeosm/30876506.jpg)


Title: Re: Relics of Alexandria recovered from the Mediterranean
Post by: Bianca on May 23, 2007, 08:01:29 pm



(http://www.spiegel.de/img/0,1020,619961,00.jpg)


Title: Re: Relics of Alexandria recovered from the Mediterranean
Post by: Bianca on May 23, 2007, 08:07:48 pm




(http://www.underwater-pictures.com/documentaire/statue.jpg)


Title: Re: Relics of Alexandria recovered from the Mediterranean
Post by: Elric on May 23, 2007, 10:28:20 pm
Bianca, nice work on getting all the pictures, this is an interesting topic as well.

You may notice that some of them didn't post and you got the red 'x' as well. I fixed them all for you.  Remember, the picture address has to be between the (IMG) (/IMG) brackets or else the pictures won't come up.  Nice topic and choice of images, though.

Elric


Title: Re: Relics of Alexandria recovered from the Mediterranean
Post by: Qoais on May 24, 2007, 12:38:23 am
How exciting it must have been for the people who did the dive.  And then to see everything come up out of the water.  Great pictures Bianca.


Title: Re: Relics of Alexandria recovered from the Mediterranean
Post by: rockessence on May 24, 2007, 03:57:59 am
Completely and totally wonderous!!


Title: Re: Relics of Alexandria recovered from the Mediterranean
Post by: Bianca on May 24, 2007, 02:56:17 pm




AND A BIG THANK YOU TO "MY GUARDIAN ANGEL". (Elric)

B.


Title: Re: Relics of Alexandria recovered from the Mediterranean
Post by: Bianca on May 24, 2007, 09:22:57 pm



"NAOS OF THE DECADES" -Hieroglyphics-covered Prayer Niche




(http://www.archaeology.org/online/news/jpegs/decades.jpeg)


Title: Re: Relics of Alexandria recovered from the Mediterranean
Post by: Bianca on May 24, 2007, 09:41:23 pm



Another recovered piece of the "Naos of the Decades"




(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a3/Louvres-antiquites-egyptiennes-p1010970.jpg/180px-Louvres-antiquites-egyptiennes-p1010970.jpg)


Title: Re: Relics of Alexandria recovered from the Mediterranean
Post by: Bianca on May 24, 2007, 09:49:41 pm


The re-assembled "Naos of the Decades" - Read story in above article



(http://www.artscape.fr/wp-content/uploads/2006/12/SCA_161.jpg)


Title: Re: Relics of Alexandria recovered from the Mediterranean
Post by: Bianca on May 24, 2007, 09:58:15 pm


(http://www.big.com.au/fallen/L_096a.jpg)




Then, by little and little, I seemed to see the whole figure of her body, mounting out of the sea and standing before me, wherefore I purpose to describe her divine semblance, if the poverty of my human speech will suffer me, or her divine power give me eloquence thereto.

First she had a great abundance of hair, dispersed and scattered about her neck, on the crown of her head she bare many garlands interlaced with flowers, in the middle of her forehead was a compass in fashion of a glass, or resembling the light of the Moon, in one of her hands she bore serpents, in the other, blades of corn, her vestment was of fine silk yielding divers colours, sometime yellow, sometime rosy, sometime flamy, and sometime (which troubled my spirit sore) dark and obscure, covered with a black robe in manner of a shield, and pleated in most subtle fashion at the skirts of her garments, the welts appeared comely, whereas here and there the stars glimpsed, and in the middle of them was placed the Moon, which shone like a flame of fire, round about the robe was a coronet or garland made with flowers and fruits.

In her right hand she had a timbrell of brass, which gave a pleasant sound, in her left hand she bare a cup of gold, out of the mouth whereof the serpent Aspis lifted up his head, with a swelling throat, her perfumed feet were covered with shoes interlaced and wrought with victorious palm. Thus the divine shape breathing out the pleasant spice of fertile Arabia, disdained not with her divine voice to utter these words unto me: Behold Lucius I am come, thy weeping and prayers hath moved me to succour thee.

I am she that is the natural mother of all things, mistress and governesse of all the Elements, the initial progeny of worlds, chief of powers divine, Queen of heaven, the principal of the Gods celestial, the light of the goddesses: at my will the planets of the air, the wholesome winds of the Seas, and the silences of hell be disposed.


Picture: A statue of Isis discovered by the Goddio team. Text: Vision of Isis described by Lucius Apuleius





Title: Re: Relics of Alexandria recovered from the Mediterranean
Post by: Bianca on May 24, 2007, 10:37:43 pm




THE RICHES OF ALEXANDRIA



Jean Yves Empereur

 
 
Jean Yves Empereur is the Director of Research at the CNRS (French National Research Center), and the Director of the French Center for Alexandrian Studies in Alexandria, Egypt. He recently spoke with NOVA about his ongoing work in the harbor of Alexandria.

NOVA: Apparently it has been known since the time of Napoleon Bonaparte that there were interesting artifacts underwater in the harbor of Alexandria. Can you tell us why the area was not investigated fully until '94?

Empereur: There are several reasons. The first one is that the regulator was invented by Cousteau in 1943. And so before it was difficult to proceed with underwater excavations. And it's only in the early '50s that Cousteau himself began to do underwater archaeological excavations. In Alexandria during the Second World War it was a little bit difficult to dive, because there was a continuous state of war. The area was continuously occupied by the Egyptian Marines. And you have to get a lot of permits to be able to dive, and it's somewhat difficult to get these permits. The Northern coast of Egypt is difficult for diving.

NOVA: I understand that much of the ancient city of Alexandria has been lost through centuries of building. Were the objects in the harbor protected from that development and does that make this site particularly important?

Empereur: What is interesting underwater is that there is no construction. When we make rescue excavations in the city on land, once a year an old building, a cinema, a theater or a storehouse comes down, to build a new tower of offices. What we see is occupied from just now until ten meters (33 feet) down with all the states of occupation of the city. So Mamluk, Byzantine, Roman, Greek and so on. In the water it's completely different. It's protected from antiquity until now. There was no more recent occupation. And so we find exactly the state from antiquity -- without new occupation -- and that's really interesting.
 
 NOVA: You believe that you have found the Pharos lighthouse. Is it possible that some of these blocks might belong to some other type of monument, such as a temple?

Empereur: Of course. They're from more than 2,500 architectural pieces. And we believe that most of them -- about 99 percent of them -- belong to other monuments of the city. For instance there are some sphinxes, some obelisks, some columns, which belong to other monuments of the city.

But what we think belongs to the lighthouse itself -- it's only a very few, a dozen of the architectural pieces, which are more than 70 tons. But we believe that these few elements were very difficult to move them the place where they collapsed from the lighthouse itself.

NOVA: How did the lighthouse wind up under water?

Empereur: From the fourth century until the 14th century there were earthquakes in Alexandria. In the Arab sources alone you have more than 20 mentions of earthquakes which affected the lighthouse. And we know that in the 14th century, after the Arabs had made some repairs to the lighthouse, the lighthouse collapsed due to very severe earthquakes. There is a map in Montpelier, a town in southern France, which indicates that in 1303 the lighthouse of Alexandria was destroyed. In fact, there is an Arab traveler, his name is Ibn Battuta, who came to Alexandria in 1326 for the first time. And he writes, "I could have access to the door of the first floor of the lighthouse." And when he comes back to Alexandria in 1349, he says, "No access to this door. Everything here has collapsed." So in fact, in the first half of the 14th century that very strong earthquake put an end to this tower. This earthquake made the lighthouse collapse in a kind of line from the seashore. And we found a dozen fallen pieces under the sea in a line. Some of these pieces were in fact broken in two or three fragments, each of which is about 20 or 30 tons.

NOVA: Did you use your map to help you figure out which piece came from the lighthouse?
 
Empereur: Yes, of course. This was made clear by the computer. First we made a map, a very accurate map with GPS, with electronic theodolites, and so on. After we completed this map we understood what happened -- what could be drawn and understood on this map with lines, with concentrations of architectural pieces of the same kind and so on. [Read "Mapping the Treasures" to find out more about how this experimental map was made and used.]

NOVA: Have you found any Greek lettering on any of the blocks, or just Egyptian hieroglyphs?

Empereur: We have found only one marble piece which bears alpha, rho, tau, sigma and omega -- five letters in Greek. In fact, it was a very huge inscription, because the letters are more than 30 centimeters high and were in bronze. We found only the traces of these letters with holes in the marble. With five letters it's difficult to complete the inscription and to have an idea of the general text. But there is an American scholar who wrote an article about this inscription. And he made a restoration of the wall text, saying that, in fact, we discovered the inscription of the lighthouse itself.

NOVA: Are most of these blocks dated to the same time, or do you not know that?

Empereur: Yes, we know that they belong to the Greek time. For instance, the colossal statues which stood at the foot of the lighthouse itself, we are certain that they are portraits of King Ptolemy. And what's interesting is that these Greek kings chose to be represented as pharaohs. That means that they were not only the masters of the Greek city of Alexandria, but of the whole country named Egypt. Every captain, every traveler entering the harbor of Alexandria was obliged to pass in front of the statue of the kings and queens -- the kings as pharaohs, and the queens as the Goddess Isis. It was a kind of royal propaganda.

NOVA: We've heard that 26 sphinxes have been found in the harbor. What are all those sphinxes doing there? Were they part of a monument or were they thrown out?

 
Statue of King Ptolemy being removed from the harbor.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
 
Empereur: What are they doing? They are playing with fishes [laughs]. In fact, they're very different one from the other. They belong to different pharaohs. The more ancient belongs to Sisyphus (Sesostris) the Third who belongs to the 12th dynasty. And it's very different from another one belonging to Pharaoh Psamtik the Third, who belongs to the 26th dynasty, which is in the 6th century B.C. So there is a difference of 1,300 years between them.

And all the 26 sphinxes we have found up to now are very different, belonging to different pharaohs, different by size, different by even the material -- some come from granite, some from quartzite and so on. And so they do not belong to a row of sphinxes like in Luxor or in Karnak. In fact, they all come from Heliopolis, which is north of Cairo and was destroyed at the time of the Greek Ptolemies. This very old pharaonic sanctuary was used as a quarry. They took from it obelisks, sphinxes, and all kinds of pharaonic pieces to use in Alexandria. Some of them were used as decoration for the city as obelisks or sphinxes. Others were used as building materials. Some of these obelisks or sphinxes were used in Rome or in London or even in New York. The obelisks of Central Park near the Metropolitan Museum, in fact, come from Alexandria.

NOVA: Now that you have removed a lot of artifacts from the harbor, do many still remain? And can people go to Alexandria and dive to see them?

Empereur: Yes, there is a plan by the Egyptian authorities to transform this archaeological site into an archaeological park. And to let people dive and have a look at these antiquities underwater. First they'll have to fix the sewage problem. Then we have to complete, of course, the excavation, which should be in the fall of '98. The third point is that they have to transform this Qaitbay Fort into a lighthouse base and a lighthouse museum, to let people rent suits and so on for diving. So I think that you have to wait a little bit more, for say two, three, four years to get this park ready for amateur divers, so they can have an idea of this very impressive site.

NOVA: Do the blocks need to be protected in any special way once they come out of the water?


Empereur: Yes, of course. There is a special treatment. This treatment is needed because there is a lot of salt inside the epiderm [skin] of these blocks. And you have to remove it. And so the same day that you remove the blocks from the bottom of the sea, you have to put them in water tanks with the same percentage of sodium that there is salt in the seawater. Then you reduce smoothly this percentage of sodium until the blocks have released all the salt they have inside. Once they don't release any salt into freshwater, it means that the process is finished. And this process took six months. And now they are exposed to the open air without any problem because there is no more salt inside these architectural pieces or statues.

NOVA: We've heard that there are Greek and Roman shipwrecks not far from where the lighthouse was found. Can you tell us more about that?

Empereur: Yes. This is a new discovery we made last November. We knew from ancient sources that the entrance of the harbor of Alexandria was very dangerous. This is due to the rocks which are at the surface of the water, or just below the surface. In fact, we discovered from 300 meters from the coast to 2 kilometers from the coast some Greek and Roman shipwrecks, from the 4th century B.C. until the 7th century A.D. This is a very new and rich documentation on the trade of Alexandria with the rest of the Mediterranean.

NOVA: What are your plans for working there?

Empereur: We are doing a survey now to make a new map on this zone. And now we have a map which is in progress, with anchors, with these shipwrecks, and so on. For several months we have been excavating one of these shipwrecks. This shipwreck is the cargo of an Italian ship from the 1st century B.C., around 50 B.C. -- the time of Caesar. These shipwrecks are full of wine amphoras imported from Greece, from northern Turkey or from Italy, Spain, North Africa. And even some plain pottery and fine pottery lamps, and you can even find the anchors of the ships.

NOVA: How many shipwrecks do you hope to find?

Empereur: We don't know exactly, because this work is in progress now. But so far we have more than one dozen such shipwrecks, and I think perhaps that there are many, many more.

NOVA: It sounds like your plate is full.

Empereur: Of course, but you are running from one place to another, and it's a pity that there are no more archaeologists working in this field, to collaborate, to save more of the antiquities of this capital of Ptolemies.

NOVA: Well, thank you very much for your time and good luck with the shipwrecks and everything else you are working on.

Empereur: Thank you very much. See you in Alexandria one day, I hope.



Mapping the Treasures | Empereur
Seven Wonders

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Title: Re: Relics of Alexandria recovered from the Mediterranean
Post by: Qoais on May 25, 2007, 01:08:46 am
Quote
Picture: A statue of Isis discovered by the Goddio team. Text: Vision of Isis described by Lucius Apuleius

And from what I can see, not a chisel mark on her!!!


Title: Re: Relics of Alexandria recovered from the Mediterranean
Post by: rockessence on May 25, 2007, 04:12:10 am
(http://www.ancientegyptmagazine.com/images/underwater_1.jpg)

The eerily blind gaze of this statue of Serapis, a god combining Greek and Egyptian aspects, gazes up through the water from a city now occupied by sea life

(http://www.cherifo.com/Main/uwthead.jpg)

The head of a statue in basalt representing a Pharaoh which has just been found during the excavation of the archaeological west site in the bay of Aboukir.