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Monument Lifted From Cleopatra's Underwater City

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posted on Dec, 17 2009 @ 09:33 PM
Monument Lifted From Cleopatra's Underwater City

From NPR and the Associated Press

Archaeologists on Thursday hoisted a 9-ton temple pylon from the waters of the Mediterranean that was part of the palace complex of the fabled Cleopatra before it became submerged for centuries in the harbor of Alexandria.

Photo: "A sunken red granite tower, part of a pylon of the Isis temple is lifted out of the Mediterranean Sea off the archaeological eastern harbor of Alexandria, Egypt Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009. Egyptian archeologists have lifted a major artifact out of the Mediterranean Sea in an elaborate effort to highlight ancient treasures buried under water off the harbor in Alexandria. It is intended to be the centerpiece of a planned underwater museum Egypt hopes will draw tourists to its northern coast, often overshadowed by hotspots such as Luxor, the Giza pyramids and Red Sea beaches"

Divers and underwater archaeologists used a giant crane and ropes to lift the 9-ton, 7.4-foot-tall pylon, covered with muck and seaweed, out of the murky waters. It was deposited ashore as Egypt's top archaeologist, Zahi Hawass, and other officials watched.

The pylon was part of a sprawling palace from which the Ptolemaic dynasty ruled Egypt and where 1st Century B.C. Queen Cleopatra wooed the Roman general Marc Antony before they both committed suicide after their defeat by Augustus Caesar.

The temple dedicated to Isis, a pharaonic goddess of fertility and magic, is at least 2,050 years old, but archaeologists believe it's likely much older. The pylon was cut from a single slab of red granite quarried in Aswan, some 700 miles (more than 1,100 kilometers) to the south, officials said.

They've also recently uncovered sphinxes and peices of what they believe to be the Alexandria Lighthouse, I'll try and upload underwater photos of those from the OI, Univ. of Chicago;

In recent years, excavators have discovered dozens of sphinxes in the harbor, along with pieces of what is believed to be the Alexandria Lighthouse, or Pharos, which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

They believe this is where they'll discover the tomb of Cleopatra, in the harbor near her temple. So far there appears to be quite a bit down there, the water has undoubtedly protected these artifacts from robbers all these centuries.

posted on Dec, 17 2009 @ 10:38 PM
I'm particularly interested in hearing about the Lighthouse of Alexandria artifacts. If we're lucky, they'll find enough of it and we can finally know exactly what it looked like. So many of the seven wonders of the ancient world have been lost to time and human folly that it'll be nice to get one back(so to speak).

[edit on 12/17/2009 by Mad Simian]

posted on Dec, 17 2009 @ 10:46 PM
Very exciting find, especially since it has been virtually (we assume) untouched since it fell. That stone that they are excavating, is it depicting a cross or am I just seeing only part of what is engraved?

posted on Dec, 18 2009 @ 02:33 AM
They don't say what part of the pylon they've recovered Serbsta, although they call it a "tower", so perhaps it was something that stood in front of the pylon.

Pylon's are a major feature of Ancient Egyptian architecture;

They're usually found before a temple or a mortuary. If this one was dedicated to Cleopatra, then it's a very good candidate for her final resting place (the photos are from Ramesses III's mortuary and Karnak respectively).

posted on Dec, 22 2009 @ 04:21 AM

More info on the project:
Sunken artifact reveals Pharaonic influence

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (Reuters) - Egyptian archaeologists pulled a red granite ruin from the seabed near Cleopatra's sunken palace this week that experts said showed the influence of pharaonic design well into Greek and Roman rule.

The block's pharaonic style indicated the influence of pharaonic architecture at the end of Cleopatra's rule and on the cusp of Roman supremacy, said Hary Tazlaz, head of the Greek mission that discovered the ruins in 1998.

"The pylon is a typically Egyptian piece of architecture," Tazlaz told Reuters. "The architecture of Alexandria in Hellenistic times was not a totally Greek architecture. It was a Greek dynasty but used pharaonic architecture."

In May, Hawass and Tazlaz plan to extract a 15-tonne, 7-meter tall door believed to be that of Cleopatra's mausoleum.

That should be fun...

It's interesting that not only did this city vanish beneath the water due to an 8th c. earthquake, but so did other cities in the vicinity, Menouthis and Herakleion. (both cities were discovered in 1998, the same time as this temple of Isis).

From what I've read, the geologists think the ground became liquefied during an earthquake, causing them to literally slide into the sea.

Makes Atlantis seem a little more plausible.

posted on Dec, 22 2009 @ 05:02 AM
how exciting!

i have long held the hope that one day Cleopatra's tomb would be located
i think surely it's right near the shore, from what i've read

too bad, TOO BAD, that so much was lost, forever, when the Library of Alexandria was burned!

i bet Cleopatra cried over it
i would have

posted on Dec, 22 2009 @ 04:30 PM
Hawass claims he has evidence that points to a location 50 miles inland as Cleo's tomb, that this is only a temple in Isis' honor...

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