Monday, December 18, 2006

Underwater archaeology update Egypt’s Sunken Treasures reveals lost world
The great port of Alexandria was a bustling trade hub, a transit point for merchandise from throughout the ancient world, at least until much of it vanished into the Mediterranean Sea.

Treasure hunters have long scoured the Egyptian coast for vestiges of the port, thought to have disappeared about 13 centuries ago. Now, an exhibit at Paris’ Grand Palais brings together 500 ancient artifacts recovered from the area by underwater archaeologists using sophisticated nuclear technology.

Egypt’s Sunken Treasures features colossuses of pink granite, a 17-tonne slab inscribed with hieroglyphics, a phalanx of crouching sphinx, pottery, amulets and gold coins and jewellery — all painstakingly fished out of the Mediterranean. Some of the oldest artifacts are estimated to have spent 2,000 years underwater.