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From Legend To Reality: Lost Egyptian City Found After 1,200 Years

An Ancient Egyptian City Heracleion disappeared beneath the Mediterranean about 1,200 years ago and for centuries it was thought to be a legend. But a great discovery proved that the lost city was real and started to reveal what life was like in the legendary port of Heracleion.

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Also known as Thonis (name for the Egyptian), it is a city of extraordinary wealth mentioned by Herodotus, visited by Helen of Troy and Paris, but apparently buried under the sea. It is believed Heracleion served as the obligatory port of entry to Egypt for all ships coming from the Greek world.

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Submerged under 150 feet of the sea, the lost city is located in western part of today’s Aboukir Bay, Egypt.

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Researchers discovered the remains of more than 64 ships buried in the thick clay and sand that covers the sea bed. Gold coins and weights made from bronze and stone have also been found, a hint that the trade went on.

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Giant 16 foot statues have been uncovered and over 700 ancient ship anchors.

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Hundreds of smaller statues of minor gods on the sea floor were also found by the archaeologist.

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Slabs of stone inscribed in both ancient Greek and Ancient Egyptian were brilliantly preserved and protected by sand on the sea floor for centuries leaving them untouched.

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Recently divers uncovered dozens of small limestone sarcophagi which are believed to have once contained mummified animals, put there to appease the Gods.

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But scientists still have little idea what caused the city to slip into the water nearly 1,000 years ago. It is thought that gradual sea level rise combined with a sudden collapse of the unstable sediment the city was built on caused the area to drop by around 12 feet.

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The objects recovered from the excavations illustrate the cities’ beauty and glory – a civilization frozen in time.

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The archaeological evidences are overwhelming,  but scientist said they are just at the beginning of their research.

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To fully uncover the past they will probably have to continue working for the next 200 years for Thonis-Heracleion.

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Animation of the legendary port of Thonis-Heracleion

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This great discovery is truly mind blowing that it’ll leave this question on our minds: What else have we not uncovered?

Image credits: Franck Goddio | More info @ The Telegraph

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