Beneath the waters of Abukir Bay, at the edge of the Nile Delta, lie the submerged remains of ancient Egyptian cities that sank over 1,000 years ago but were dramatically rediscovered in the late 20th century
Pioneering underwater excavations since the 1990s have yielded a wealth of ancient buildings and artifacts, including temples and monumental statuary, harbour installations, and no fewer than 69 shipwrecks. Some of the greatest of these treasures are to be exhibited in Britain for the first time in 2016.
Through these outstanding finds, this book tells the story of how two iconic ancient civilizations, Egypt and Greece, interacted in the late first millennium bc, from the founding of Thonis-Heracleion, Naukratis and Canopus as trading and religious centres to the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great, through the ensuing centuries of Ptolemaic (Hellenistic) rule, to the suicide of Cleopatra, the last active pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt, and the ultimate dominance of Rome.
Throughout, Greeks and Egyptians lived alongside one another in these lively cities, sharing their politics, religious ideas, languages, scripts and customs. Greek kings adopted the regalia of the pharaoh; ordinary Greek citizens worshipped in Hellenic sanctuaries next to Egyptian temples; and their ancient gods and mythologies became ever more closely intertwined.
This book showcases a spectacular collection of artifacts, coupled with a retelling of the history and rediscovery of these lost cities by world-renowned experts (including the sites’ long-term excavator), bringing the reader face-to-face with this vibrant and multi-cultural ancient society. Franck Goddio is President of the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology, and discoverer of the city of Thonis-Heracleion 7 km off the Egyptian shore in Abukir Bay. Aurelia Masson-Berghoff is the curator of the accompanying exhibition at the British Museum. nbsp;