Magazine article Geographical

Sunken Treasures

Magazine article Geographical

Sunken Treasures

Article excerpt

Since 1992, underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio and his team have been researching, recovering and restoring Egyptian artefacts that had lain undisturbed on the ocean's floor for more than 1,000 years. In the process, they have located the city of Thonis-Herakleion, revealed the eastern reaches of the town of Canopus and discovered a sunken section of the Great Port of Alexandria. Although the precise circumstances behind the submersion of these ancient settlements remains a mystery, the prevailing theory is that the region was flooded following volcanic activity. With a major new exhibition of the recovered artefacts due to open at the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bonn later this month, we present a selection of Christoph Gerigk's photographs, which document the discovery of one of Egypt's greatest hidden treasure troves

A statue of a priest carrying an Osiris canopus, flanked by two sphinxes, found on the sunken island of Antirhodos, Egypt. The Osiris canopus, a water-carrying jar bearing the the head of Osiris, the god of life, death, and fertility, was often carried in processions. Its shape alluded to the power of resurrection, which Osiris was believed to possess. Antirhodos itself is thought to have been the most likely site of Cleopatra's palace. These figures were all cleaned and re-erected where they had been found

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Above left: before any object or structure is moved, its position is noted using a grid system and then added to an overall site map; Above right: a marble head representing Sarapis, a composite of several Greek and Egyptian deities, most likely Osiris and Apis, an Egyptian bull god. Its size suggests that the entire statue would have been more than four metres tall; Below left: raising a granite stele (inscribed slab), found on the site of Herakleion;

Below right: a colossal statue of a Ptolemaic king is lifted from the water. …

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