Friday, May 28, 2010

Divers Exploring Cleopatra's Palace in Alexandria Harbor

On Tuesday, May 25, 2010 divers entered the waters of Alexandria harbor to explore the ruins of a palace and temple complex belonging to ancient Egyptian queen Cleopatra.  They had to swim over heaps of limestone blocks that went into the sea over 1,600 years ago because of earthquakes and tsunamis.

An international team of researchers led by French underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio are using advanced technology to survey the Alexandria Royal Quarters.  It is encased deep below the harbor sediment.  They are working to confirm  the accuracy of 2,000 year-old historical descriptions left by Greek geographers and historians.  Researchers have been doing topographical surveys of the area since the early 1990's.

The researchers are have discovered such artifacts as coins, granite statues of Egyptian rules, sunken temples dedicated to Egyptian deities and every day objects.  Also among the finds is a massive stone head believed to be of Caesarion, son of Queen Cleopatra and Julius Caesar, two sphinxes, one of which most likely represents Ptolemy XII, the father of Cleopatra.  Their finds will be going on display at Philadelphia's Franklin Institute from June 5, 2010 to January 2, 2011 in the "Cleopatra:  The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt" display of more than 250 artifacts before going on the road to tour four other North American cities.

Cleopatra was from the last dynasty to rule Egypt as the country was annexed into the Roman Empire in 30 B.C. 

For more information on the Cleopatra:  The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt exhibit please visit the article.

For more information on the archaeological expedition and to see a photograph of a diver inspecting a quartzite block please read the article.

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