Divers Find Greek Cemetery in Recessed Egyptian City

A dive team from a French-Egyptian research mission found a classic Greek cemetery and an antiquity warship in the sunken Egyptian port city of Thônis-Heracleion. The ship and cemetery are centuries old and the find says something about life in the city.

The ship sank in the second century BC after a temple for the god Amon beside it collapsed in the Nile, presumably due to an earthquake. According to the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism, the ship is a classic Egyptian warship 25 metres wide with oars and sail.

The ship was buried under a layer of mud five meters deep, reports the ministry. One of the researchers tells local media that it‘s special that a fast ship was found that is already so old.

For centuries, the

city

of Thônis-Heracleion was the region’s leading city and the main port of access to the Mediterranean Sea for Egypt. Many Greek merchants lived in the city, hence the Greek cemetery, which dates back to the beginning of the fourth century before our era began. The cemetery was next to a temple in front of Amon. The temple and tombs ended up in the Nile at the same time, and the human remains of Greeks and Egyptians are now intertwined. This too was probably due to an earthquake.

Amon was the supreme god or creator god in Egyptian mythology and was worshiped in many places.

Alexander the Great

The city lost to power after Alexander the Great founded Alexandria in 331 BC. Thônis-Heracleion disappeared completely in the Nile in the years after that due to earthquakes and high waves, with much of the Nile Delta. In 2001, the city was discovered in a bay near Alexandria.