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Dominican mission discovers Greco-Roman tunnel in Alexandria

An Egyptian-Dominican archaeologist mission from the University of Santo Domingo has discovered a 1,305-meter-long tunnel dating from Greco-Roman times, near the Taposiris Magna Temple, in the west of the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.

In a statement, the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities explained that the tunnel, carved into the rock, is two meters high and is 13 meters underground.

The mission, led by archaeologist Kathleen Martinez, found the heads of two alabaster statues near the temple, one of a person from the Ptolemaic period, and the other probably a representation of the sphinx.

Martínez, who described the tunnel as “an engineering miracle”, explained that “initial studies indicate that its architectural design is very similar to the design of the Yubilinus Tunnel in Greece, but it is longer”.

She added that a part of the discovered tunnel is submerged under the waters of the Mediterranean, and that the mission found several ceramic pots and jars, as well as a rectangular block of limestone under the mud sediments.

“Numerous archaeological evidence has shown that there is a part of the foundations of the Temple of Taposiris Magna that is submerged under water, and the mission is working to uncover it,” she added.

She also stressed that, according to scientific sources, at least 23 earthquakes shook the Egyptian Mediterranean coast between 320 and 1303 AD, causing part of the Temple of Taposiris Magna to collapse and sink.

The Egyptian-Dominican mission had reported in January the discovery of sixteen Greco-Roman catacombs with their respective mummies in the Taposiris Magna necropolis, and which give clues to the characteristics of mummification at that time.

The discoveries made so far show that the temple in Alexandria was built by King Ptolemy IV, who ruled from 221 B.C. to 204 BC

Kathleen Martínez has been leading since 2005 in the architectural complex of Taposiris Magna a tireless search for the tomb of Cleopatra, who, according to history, committed suicide in the year 30 AD after her lover, the Roman general Marco Antonio, bled to death in her arms.


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