Incredible Sunken City of Thonis-Heracleion Discovered


It’s not quite Atlantis, but the underwater city of Thonis-Heracleion comes very close.

For centuries the port was thought to be a legend, after disappearing beneath the Mediterranean around 1,200 years ago.

But it was discovered during a survey of the north coast of Egypt at the beginning of the 21st century.

Ever since, researchers have slowly been discovering more and more about the city, through which all trade from Greece and the Mediterranean entered Egypt.

Archaeologists have found the wreckages of more than 64 ships, gold coins and giant 16-foot statues.

Slabs of stone inscribed in both ancient Greek and Ancient Egyptian have also been brought to the surface.

Scientists have little idea what caused the city to slip into the water nearly 1,000 years after it was built in the eighth century BC.

Before disappearing, it would have sat at the mouth of the River Nile delta.

It is believed Paris and Helen of Troy were stranded in the city as they fled from the jealous Menelaus, prior to the start of the Trojan war.

A colossal 5.4 metre red granite statue of Hapi – the god of the flooding of the Nile – is one of the biggest ever found, and points to the importance of the area.

Over time, Thonis-Heracleion, and other cities that met a similar fate, faded from memory – noted only in a few historical texts.

One theory on its disappearance, is that sea level rise combined with a collapse of the sediment the city was built on caused the area to drop by around 12 feet.

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Ian Hughes

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