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Franck Goddio Newsletter

Newsletter September 2018

Dear Friends,
I hope you have had a lovely summer with some quality time to relax and gather new strength.
This is just a brief update on what my team and I are working on these days. 

Maybe I'll see you around at the next exhibition venue in Minneapolis this fall.

All the best,


Egypt expedition 2018

This year's Egypt mission in May/June performed by the IEASM in collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry for Antiquities and with the support of the Hilti Foundation took place on two sites: 

In the eastern port of Alexandria we first focused on completing the geophysical survey that we started over 20 years ago with a new prototype of geophysical equipment. The collected data is currently being studied and will complement the fascinating maps we have created over the years on the basis of this data. It allows us to refine our knowledge of sunken structures and guide future excavations. Further research was carried out by our underwater archaeologists on different spots in Alexandria's eastern harbor and an excavation of a small wreck took place. The wreck turned out to be in a remarkable state of conservation. Photogrammetric surveys and sketches were made and samples of ceramics in place could be gathered. We were able to date this vessel to the Early Roman Empire (mid 1st century AD), more precisely it is a Horeia-Type Toulon 2 vessel. An exhaustive study is in progress and will appear in one of our next publications.

In phase 2 we shifted our research to Canopus. The discovery of the canal which connected the city with Thonis-Heracleion (canal documented by the writings of Strabo) during previous missions led us to contemplate the hydrographic network of Canopus in terms of navigation, irrigation, water supply or drainage. We are beginning to discover a network of main channels, attesting not only Canopus' intense economic activity, but also to its social and religious importance. 

The numerous discoveries made on the site testify the archaeological and scientific potential that remains to be explored in the decades to come.

Exhibition soon on view in Minneapolis

This fall, the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) will host the Sunken Cities exhibition. The exhibition opens November 4, 2018, and is on view for an extended six-month run through April 14, 2019. It was recently shown at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, the British Museum in London, the Museum Rietberg in Zurich and the Saint Louis Art Museum.

"Mia is thrilled to bring this exciting exhibition to the Twin Cities," said Jan-Lodewijk Grootaers, curator of African art and head of Mia’s Department of Arts of Africa and the Americas. "These finds have deep scholarly significance, giving us a greater understanding of the intermingling of Egyptian and Greek politics, religion, and aesthetics, and groundbreaking insights on ancient secret rituals."

For more information on programming, visit new.artsmia.org/exhibition/egypts-sunken-cities.


Over 70 ancient vessels have been discovered in the sunken port-city of Thonis-Heracleion by the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology (IEASM). A few of them are Late Period Egyptian baris-vessels.This kind of ship was described by the Greek Historian Herodotus who visited Egypt in 450 BC. It is the first time that a baris has been discovered.

The Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology (OCMA) is now publishing a book on one of these baris-vessels: Ship 17. The volume, Ship 17: a Late Period Egyptian ship from Thonis-Heracleion, by Alexander Belov, investigates the construction, structure and identification of the 27-28m long ship and places it within the traditions of naval architecture both in Egypt and the wider Mediterranean.

Advance orders taken at: Oxbow books

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