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Threshold to Cleopatra's mausoleum discovered off Alexandria coast
• Threshold to massive door found off Alexandria
• Queen's mausoleum part of sunken palace complex
Helena Smith in Athens guardian.co.uk,
Wednesday 23 December 2009 22.10 GMT
A team of Greek marine archaeologists who have spent years conducting underwater excavations off the coast of Alexandria in Egypt have unearthed a giant granite threshold to a door that was once the entrance to a magnificent mausoleum that Cleopatra VII, queen of the Egyptians, had built for herself shortly before her death.
They believe the 15-tonne antiquity would have held a seven metre-high door so heavy that it would have prevented her from consoling her Roman lover before he died, reputedly in 30BC.
"As soon as I saw it, I thought we are in the presence of a very special piece of a very special door," Harry Tzalas, the historian who heads the Greek mission, said.
"There was no way that such a heavy piece, with fittings for double hinges and double doors, could have moved with the waves so there was no doubt in my mind that it belonged to the mausoleum. Like Macedonian tomb doors, when it closed, it closed for good."
The threshold, part of the sunken palace complex in which Cleopatra is believed to have died, was discovered recently at a depth of eight metres but only revealed this week. It has yet to be brought to the surface. The archaeologists have also recovered a nine-tonne granite block which they believe formed part of a portico belonging to the adjoining temple of Isis Lochias.
Pylon from Cleopatra's temple raised from the sea
by Sean McLachlan (RSS feed)
on Dec 20th 2009 at 3:30PM
Archaeologists have pulled a massive pylon from the bay of Alexandria, Egypt, that was once a part Cleopatra's royal complex.
The pylon, a pillar of red granite measuring 2.2 meters long and weighing nine tons, formed part of the temple of Isis and stood right next to Cleopatra's mausoleum in the year 30 BC............
The pylon and other artifacts from the sunken royal district may end up in a planned underwater museum that Egypt wants to build in Alexandria. Archaeologists have discovered a whole city graced with 26 sphinxes, countless statues and fragments of architecture, and ancient shipwrecks.