A diver examines the remains of an ancient military vessel discovered in the Mediterranean sunken city of Thonis-Heracleion off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt, in this handout image released on July 19, 2021. The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities/Handout via REUTERS

Photo: A diver examines the remains of an ancient military vessel discovered in the Mediterranean sunken city of Thonis-Heracleion off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt, in this handout image released on July 19, 2021. The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities/Handout via REUTERS

19 July 2021 | Staff | Reuters

CAIRO, July 19 (Reuters) – Divers have discovered rare remains of a military vessel in the ancient sunken city of Thônis-Heracleion – once Egypt’s largest port on the Mediterranean – and a funerary complex illustrating the presence of Greek merchants, the country said on Monday.

The city, which controlled the entrance to Egypt at the mouth of a western branch of the Nile, dominated the area for centuries before the foundation of Alexandria nearby by Alexander the Great in 331 BC.

Destroyed and sunk along with a wide area of the Nile delta by several earthquakes and tidal waves, Thônis-Heracleion was rediscovered in 2001 in Abu Qir bay near Alexandria, now Egypt’s second largest city.

A fragment from the remains of an ancient military vessel discovered in the Mediterranean sunken city of Thonis-Heracleion off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt, is seen?in this handout image released on July 19, 2021. The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities/Handout via REUTERS

The military vessel, discovered by an Egyptian-French mission led by the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology (IEASM), sank when the famed temple of Amun it was mooring next to collapsed in the second century BC.

A preliminary study shows the hull of the 25-metre flat-bottomed ship, with oars and a large sail, was built in the classical tradition and also had features of Ancient Egyptian construction, Egypt’s tourism and antiquities ministry said.

In another part of the city, the mission revealed the remains of a large Greek funerary area dating back to the first years of the 4th century BC, it said.

French archaeologist Franck Goddio pointed out that finds of ships from this age remain extremely rare, with the only example being the Punic Marsala Ship (235 BC). The Hellenistic ships of this type were completely unknown from an archaeological perspective before this discovery.

The sunken city of Thônis-Heracleion in Alexandria reveals new archaeological treasures

“This discovery beautifully illustrates the presence of the Greek merchants who lived in that city,” the ministry said, adding that the Greeks were allowed to settle there during the late Pharaonic dynasties.

“They built their own sanctuaries close to the huge temple of Amun. Those were destroyed, simultaneously and their remains are found mixed with those of the Egyptian temple.”Reporting by Sameh Elkhatib; writing by Mahmoud Mourad; editing by Philippa Fletcher


Remains of an ancient military vessel discovered in the Mediterranean sunken city of Thonis-Heracleion off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt, are seen?in this handout image released on July 19, 2021. The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities/Handout via REUTERS

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