The recent archaeological discovery of a tunnel beneath an ancient Egyptian temple can mean a lot in the pursuit of the lost queen, Cleopatra.
Along with the clues pointing to the last resting place of the legendary monarch, the Egyptian-Dominican team of archaeologists has also unearthed some fascinating facts, objects, and links to other parts of the world.
Cleopatra- the queen who ruled Ptolemaic Egypt from 51 to 30 BC, apparently committed suicide with her Roman lover, Mark Antony. But little is known about their resting places two millennia after their lifetime. Since Cleopatra was regarded as “the human incarnation of the goddess Isis”, Martinez said that the Temple of Osiris (Isis’ husband) exhibited the most likely evidence of the queen’s tomb.
A Geometric Miracle
Kathleen Martinez, a criminal lawyer turned archaeologist at the University of Santo Domingo, was the leader of the expedition. They dug out a 1,305-meter or 4,281-foot-long tunnel spanning the length of over 12 football pitches, located 13 meters or 43 feet underground.
It was found beneath the Temple of Osiris at Taposiris Magna, a historical site west of Alexandria, where the Nile river confluences with the Mediterranean.
The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities described the tunnel as a “geometric miracle”. The tunnel was found under a temple dedicated to the ancient Egyptian god Osiris. The team found two Ptolemaic-era alabaster statues and several ceramic vessels and pots. An interesting fact to note is the revelation of “complex of tunnels leading to the Mediterranean Sea and sunken structures”, according to Martinez.
A portion of the newly discovered tunnel leads is underwater, which will possibly draw Martinez and her team to search for Cleopatra’s tomb inside the Mediterranean sea. Archaeological experts believe that the tunnel got submerged as a result of natural calamities.
An important cause of the underwater portion may be the result of several earthquakes which shook the region between 320 and 1300 C.E. Much of the temple is also damaged and flooded by water which seeps in from the Mediterranean Sea.
The Greek Link
The structure of the tunnel has been found to strikingly resemble the Eupalinos tunnel on the island of Samos, Greece in the Eastern Aegean Sea. This was built centuries prior to the construction of the Taposiris Magna (4th century BC), and functioned as an aqueduct that carried water for over 1,000 years.
The Eupalinos tunnel was described as “one of the most important engineering achievements of antiquity” by Martinez.
Other links to Greece were uncovered earlier. Previous excavations at the site of Taposiris Magna yielded a variety of artifacts, including coins engraved with the names and images of Cleopatra and Alexander the Great.
Other discoveries include a cemetery full of Greco-Roman-style mummies alongside figurines, statues of the goddess Isis, and a mummy with a gold tongue.
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