Archaeologists rediscover ruins of what was once a temple dedicated to the Greek goddess of love and beauty.
History never ceases to amaze us and there is much out there that is still unknown. There were several generations that lived before us and many are yet to come into existence. So, when archaeologists and other experts discover something new about the old, it’s always a fascinating journey of understanding what really went down there. In 2000, French archaeologist and head of the European Institute of Maritime Archaeology, Franck Goddio, led a team that successfully located the ancient city of Thonis-Heracleion, which was Egypt’s only port on the Mediterranean coast about 2,500 years ago.
According to Franck Goddio’s official website, it was the only port that served as the entry point for all ships that were coming in from the Greek empire. However, in the eighth century, an earthquake struck the area and the region completely collapsed and disappeared into the sea. What followed was the erasure of Thonis-Heracleion’s mention, except for in ancient texts and rare archaeological finds.
Since its rediscovery in 2000, Franck Goddio and his team have been at it and continue to explore the ancient ruins. According to a September 19 Facebook post by Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the team’s recent discoveries include a temple for the Greek goddess Aphrodite that dates back to the fifth century BC. As per the post, Dr. Mustafa, Minister General Secretary of the Supreme Council of Archaeology, stated that the mission found bronze and ceramic artifacts imported from Greece as well as the remains of buildings supported by wooden facades dating back to the fifth century BC.
Also, it mentioned that the team of archaeologists found “the area where offerings, vows and precious items of the Western Temple of Amun were stored,” which included “a collection of gold ornament of earrings in the shape of a lion’s head, a wagette eye, a medallion and pots of marble that were used to store perfumes and cosmetic ointments.”
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In addition to this, they also found “silver weather dishes” meant for religious and funeral rituals, “a limestone vowry handle and a bronze duck-shaped pitcher.” Goddio writes on his website that the objects discovered during the excavations throw light on “the cities’ beauty and glory” and also point to “the magnificence of their grand temples,” all of which is colossal historical evidence supporting the prestige of “a civilization frozen in time.”
Goddio has also mentioned on his website that the archaeological material excavated from the site of Thonis-Heracleion has great quantity and quality, which shows that this city had known a time of opulence and a peak in its occupation from the 6th to the 4th century BC. This fact was confirmed by the findings of great quantities of coins and ceramics that belonged to that period and rightly so because of the vigorous activity that took place at the port. Underwater exploration of the area is still going on to this day and the area so far explored is just 5% of the entire city.