The colossal statue of ancient God Hapi lies on a barge in an Alexandria naval base June 7, 2001. Statues, sunken ships, gold coins and jewelry are among the submerged treasures that French Marine archaeologist [Franck Goddio] has uncovered in the ancient submerged city of Heracleion off the coast of Alexandria. (Photo : Reuters )
Everyday life in the lost ancient Egyptian city of Thonis-Heracleion is becoming increasingly clear as researchers piece together findings that were discovered during a ten-year investigation.
Divers started looking for artifacts from the legendary port ten years ago and archeologists have used their findings to create a picture of what everyday life was like in the city.
Thonis-Heracleion disappeared 1,200 years ago and is now at the bottom of the Mediterranean where it was found during a survey of the Egyptian shore.
Researchers believe that the city was a central area used as a customs hub where trade coming from Greece and other places in the Mediterranean entered Egypt.
"The site has amazing preservation. We are now starting to look at some of the more interesting areas within it to try to understand life there," said Dr. Damian Robinson, who is working on the site and is director of the Oxford Center for Maritime Archaeology at the University of Oxford.
"We are getting a rich picture of things like the trade that was going on there and the nature of the maritime economy in the Egyptian late period. There were things that were coming in from Greece and the Phoenicians."
"It is a major city we are excavating," Robinson said.
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More than 64 ships, as well as gold coins and bronze weights, have been discovered underneath the thick clay and sand that lines the sea bed in the area---The Telegraph reports.
There were also 16-foot statues uncovered beneath the sea that were brought to land, as well as other smaller statues that depict minor gods.
"We have hundreds of small statues of gods and we are trying to find where the temples to these gods were in the city," Robinson said.
"The ships are really interesting as it is the biggest number of ancient ships found in one place and we have found over 700 ancient anchors so far."
Researchers hope that they find artifacts used to bury humans as they continue their excavation.
"The discoveries enhance the important of the specific location of the city standing at the 'Mouth of the Sea of the Greek'," said Dr. Goddio, who has led the excavation.
"We are just at the beginning of our research. We will probably have to continue working for the next 200 years for Thonis-Heracleion to be fully revealed and understood."