2000-year-old treasures found inside ancient underwater Egyptian city

Archeologists have stumbled upon 'treasures' buried deep underwater in an ancient sunken city.

Scientists working on the lost city of Thonis-Heracleion, off Egypt's coast, say the bustling port was before the time of Alexander the Great when he founded Alexandria in 331 BCE.

The team, from the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology (IEASM), had been studying the area for years.

They have now announced their mission, led by French marine archaeologist Franck Goddio has revealed "extremely interesting results".

Along the northeast entrance of the submerged city, remains of a Greek funerary area were found.

It was "covered with sumptuous funerary offerings", dating back to the fourth century BCE.

The large tumulus, around 60 metres long and eight metres wide, resembled an island surrounded by channels.

"Everywhere we found evidence of burned material," said Goddio, in a statement.

"Spectacular ceremonies must have taken place there. The place must have been sealed for hundreds of years as we have found no objects from later than the early fourth century BCE, even though the city lived on for several hundred years after that."

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Imported "luxury" Greek ceramics were found in the offerings, and even wicker baskets still filled with grape seeds and doum fruit – from an African palm tree often found in tombs.

"They have lain untouched underwater (for) 2,400 years, maybe because they were once placed within an underground room or were buried soon after being offered," IEASM said.

Researchers believe several earthquakes and tidal waves caused a large portion of the Nile delta to collapse under the sea.

The devastation took the cities of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus with it.

But Thonis-Heracleion was 'rediscovered' back in 2000 and Canopus in 1999.

Another area of the city revealed a Ptolemaic galley submerged beneath the water, which sank after being hit by huge blocks from the temple of Amun.

The galley was moored in the canal when the building was destroyed in a "cataclysmic event" during the second century BCE.

Falling blocks protected the sunken galley by pinning it to the bottom of the canal.

Archaeologists used "cutting-edge prototype sub-bottom profiler" technology to detect where it was.

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