British archaeologists presented the first results of underwater excavations in the Hellenistic cities of Canopus and Tonys-Heraklion, which sank into the dark ages of the Middle Ages for as yet unknown reasons.
In the delta of the Nile around the 5th century BC there were two large port cities – Canopus and Tonys-Heraklion, founded by Greek and Macedonian colonists during the reign of the 26th dynasty of the pharaohs. These cities successfully survived the occupation of Egypt by the Persians, his conquest by Alexander the Great and the transition to the reign of Rome during the reign of Cleopatra.
Around 750-800 AD, something strange happened – both cities mysteriously disappeared, literally gone underwater, and their inhabitants left both millennia policies. The place where these cities were built remained a mystery until the beginning of the current millennium, when British and French archeologists from the Institute of Underwater Archeology in Paris embarked on a large-scale excavation in the Nile Delta, in the place called “Abu Kir Harbor”.
Excavations in the territory of Canopus and Tonis-Heraklion continue to this day, and to date scientists have extracted from the bottom of the Nile thousands of artifacts, including hundreds of statues, gold and bronze ornaments, as well as 750 anchors and 69 ships sunk or flooded in the sea at coasts of these ports.
This week, British archaeologists have presented in the British Museum of London new findings that were made during excavations in these ancient Egyptian “Atlantis” in recent years. Among them are several new statues of pharaohs and Egyptian deities, including a six-meter statue of the goddess Api, who ran the Nile floods, which was installed in the harbors of these cities, like the statue of Christ in Rio de Janeiro or Rhodes Colossus.
In addition to the statues, the scientists found in Canopus and Tonis-Heraklion many artifacts, gold ornaments, tablets and other literary monuments telling us about the amazing culture of these cities and Egypt of that time, combining the features of ancient Egyptian beliefs and traditions and their Greek counterparts.
Despite more than 15 years of excavations, the reason for the departure of these cities under the water remains a mystery for scientists. Many archeologists associate the flooding of Canopus and Tonys-Heraklion with the earthquake in 796 or 797 AD, which destroyed the Faros lighthouse in Alexandria and which could destabilize the soil in the harbor of Abu Kir and cause the cities to submerge. It is possible that the answer to this question will find in the future – today, scientists have unearthed only 5% of the total area of these “Atlantis” antiquity.