The Centre d’Études Alexandrines (CEAlex) was founded in 1990 by Jean-Yves Empereur with the support of the CNRS (RCP 403), the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the IFAO. On 1 January 1999, the CNRS and the IFAO decided to institutionalise its endeavours by recognising the Centre as a Mixed Service Unit (UMS 1812). In June 2007, in order to have the status to receive researchers, the UMS was promoted to a Service and Research Unit (USR 3134). In 2015, the CEAlex celebrated 25 years of existence.
In the beginning the CEAlex was primarily involved in salvage excavations, both on land and underwater, in response to the real estate development boom of the early 1990s. More than 20 excavations were conducted, covering a variety of contexts: domestic (housing from the Hellenistic, Roman and Late Roman, and Islamic eras), institutional (medieval era cisterns, Qaitbay fort), religious, (Caesareum, the Eleusinion of Alexandria) and funerary (Gabbari bridge necropolis, Terra Santa necropolis). Underwater excavations took in the site of the Pharos of Alexandria at the foot of Qaitbay Fort and shipwrecks lying a little farther out to sea, the CEAlex benefits from the support of the Honor Frost Foundation for these projects.
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The underwater archaeological excavations conducted by the CEAlex at the foot of Fort Qaitbay on the eastern extremity of Pharos Island off Alexandria, Egypt, involve, among other elements, the ruins of the Lighthouse or Pharos of Alexandria....
The search for a new emplacement for the breakwater designed to protect Qaitbay Fort led the CEAlex to explore a zone to the north of the Eastern Harbour. There they discovered the traces of a series of Greek and Roman shipwrecks....
The CEAlex published in 2015 a book dedicated to the memory of Honor Frost: Alexandria under the Mediterranean. Archaeological studies in memory of Honor Frost, G. Soukiassian ed., Etudes Alexandrines 36, Alexandria, 2015.