Beneath a temple within the historic ruined metropolis of Taposiris Magna on the Egyptian coast, archaeologists have uncovered an enormous, spectacular tunnel that specialists are referring to as a “geometric miracle”.
Throughout ongoing excavations and exploration of the temple, Kathleen Martinez of the College of Santo Domingo within the Dominican Republic and colleagues uncovered the construction 13 meters (43 toes) beneath the bottom. The two-meter tall tunnel had been hewn by an unbelievable 1,305 meters (4,281 toes) of sandstone.
Its design, based on the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, is remarkably much like the 1,036-meter Tunnel of Eupalinos – a sixth century BCE aqueduct on the Greek island of Samos. Also known as a marvel of engineering, the conduit was unprecedented in design and building in its day.
Whereas the Taposiris Magna tunnel is not the ultimate, its engineering is nonetheless simply as spectacular.
Elements of the Taposiris Magna tunnel are submerged in water, although placing apart its resemblance to the Eupalinos Tunnel, its function is at present unknown.
Martinez, who has been working in Taposiris Magna since 2004 in the hunt for the misplaced tomb of Cleopatra VII, believes that the tunnel might be a promising lead. Beforehand, the excavations have yielded clues that appear to level to the well-known queen and the final of the Ptolemies.
Taposiris Magna was based round 280 BCE by Ptolemy II, the son of Alexander the Nice’s famend common and one in all Cleopatra’s forebears (she herself dominated from 51 BCE till her dying by suicide in 30 BCE). The temple, the staff believes, was devoted to the god Osiris and his queen, the goddess Isis – the deity with whom Cleopatra courted a powerful affiliation. Cash bearing the names and likenesses of Cleopatra and Alexander the Nice have been discovered there, in addition to collectible figurines of Isis.
Burial shafts containing Greco-Roman burials have additionally been discovered within the temple. It is doable that – in the event that they’re to be discovered there in any respect – Cleopatra and her husband Mark Antony could have been interred in comparable tombs.
It is too early to inform if the brand new tunnel might result in these long-lost tombs, however future work might yield extra data.
The subsequent stage will likely be exploring the close by Mediterranean sea. Between 320 and 1303 CE, a sequence of earthquakes hit the coast, inflicting a part of the temple to break down and be swallowed by the waves. As well as, excavations had beforehand revealed a community of tunnels stretching from Lake Mariout to the Mediterranean.
Whether or not or not the tombs are discovered, a radical excavation of those ruins might inform us extra in regards to the mysterious historic metropolis. The tunnel has already yielded some treasures: items of pottery, and an oblong block of limestone.
As then-Minister for Antiquities Zahi Hawass mentioned 13 years in the past, “If we uncover the tomb of Cleopatra and Mark Antony, it is going to be a very powerful discovery of the twenty first century. If we didn’t uncover the tomb of Cleopatra and Mark Antony, we made main discoveries right here, contained in the temple and outdoors the temple.”