The combined project descriptions and reports from Harry Tzalas covering the activities of the Greek Mission Underwater Archaeology Survey in Alexandria, Egypt.
Since 1998, when it obtained a concession for the underwater archaeological survey of an extended coastal area in Alexandria, Egypt, the Hellenic Institute of Ancient and Mediaeval Alexandrian Studies has carried out 27 campaigns in collaboration with the Department of Underwater Antiquities of Egypt. The area of the Greek Mission survey extends from Cape Silsileh, Ancient Acra Lochias, up to the Promontory of Montazah, ancient Lesser Taposiris. It covers 13.5 km of littoral and 13.5 square kilometers of sea bed. Sea depths vary from 1 meter in the shallows to 28 meters at the deepest points.
The finds are numerous and varied. They include remains attesting to the maritime activities of a city with two important ports that have been in uninterrupted use for over 23 centuries (remains of shipwrecks, anchors, amphorae, etc.). Large architectural elements were found in the area of the submerged royal quarters (over 400 blocks including the tower and steps of a pylon, a monumental basis, an oversized threshold of a monumental door, mutilated “naiskoi”, inscribed pharaonic reliefs, etc). The campaigns also revealed remains of large stone quarries, of submerged structures and necropolises, as well as architectural elements that bear witness to the presence of the alleged martyrium of Mark the Evangelist. The finds date to all the periods of Alexandria’s history and include pharaonic-period reliefs imported from Lower Egypt as well as Greek, Roman, Early Christian and Islamic artifacts.
Due to a lack of space, only a few of the finds have been raised and conserved: these include a large number of stone anchors, the lead components of a large composite anchor and the tower of a red granite pylon with the block of steps, which probably formed part of the entrance of the Temple of Isis Lochias.
Parallel to the continuation of our surveys and the gradual publication of the results, we intend to reunite the Pylon tower with the steps at the archaeological site of Kom El Dikka. This diminutive pylon is unique to Alexandria and bears witness to the amalgam of Greek and Egyptian architecture.
Our recent joint surveys in collaboration with the Mariolopoulos-Kanaginis Foundation for the Environmental Sciences focus on understanding the natural phenomena that led to the great, yet uneven, subsidence of the Alexandria littoral.
With the generous support of the Honor Frost Foundation, the Hellenic Institute of Ancient and Mediaeval Alexandrian Studies continued, during the years 2013 to 2016, the survey started in 1998 along the eastern littoral of Alexandria The campaigns were conducted in accordance with the concession granted by the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Egypt. The allocated […]
In accordance with the license granted by the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt to the Hellenic Institute of Ancient and Mediaeval Alexandrian Studies, the Greek Mission conducted its 25th underwater archaeological survey during April and May 2013. The area of the survey extends eastwards from present Cape Silsileh, ancient Cape Lochias. It was carried […]