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Egypt Mission 2023

New finds in Thonis-Heracleion

This year, the team investigated the city's South canal, in to which huge blocks of stone from a great temple collapsed during a cataclysmic event dated to the mid-second century BC. This was the temple to the god Amun, where Pharaohs came to receive from the supreme god of the ancient Egyptian pantheon the titles of their power as universal kings.

Precious objects belonging to the temple treasury have been unearthed, such as silver ritual instruments, gold jewellery and fragile alabaster containers for perfumes or unguents. They bear witness to the wealth of this sanctuary and the piety of the former inhabitants of the port city. The archaeological excavations also revealed, metres deep under the area of the temple, under-ground structures supported by very well-preserved wooden posts and beams dating from the 5th century BC. The development and use of new geophysical prospecting technologies has made it possible to detect cavities and objects buried under layers of clay several metres thick. 

Some news articles on the topic:


National Geographic Spain

National Geographic France

The Independent

East of the Amun temple, a Greek sanctuary devoted to Aphrodite was discovered, which yielded imported bronze and ceramic objects. This illustrates that Greeks who were allowed to trade and settle in the city during the time of the Pharaohs of the Saïte dynasty (664 - 525 BC) had their sanctuaries to their own gods. The presence of Greek mercenaries is also seen by numerous finds of Greek weapons. They were defending the access to the Kingdom at the mouth of the Canopic Branch of the Nile. This branch was the largest and the best navigable one in antiquity.