MADRID.-The Antiguo Matadero de Legazpi will open the exhibit The Sunken Treasures of Egypt through September 28. In the last twelve years, marine archaeologist Franck Goddio has discovered unique testimonials to Egyptian history dating from the 7th century BC to the 8th century AD off the coast of the modern city of Alexandria and in the Bay of Aboukir. These artefacts were lost to the sea more than one thousand years ago as the result of natural disasters. Monumental statues as well as coins, jewellery and cult objects have been located on the seabed of the Mediterranean by means of state-of-the-art technology and recovered in years of painstaking work. Names shrouded in legend such as the ancient harbour of Alexandria and parts of the royal quarters, the long-lost city of Heracleion and parts of the city of Canopus have been re-discovered.
Around 500 objects found in these spectacular underwater excavations will be on display to the general public in the Spanish premiere of this exhibition at the Matadero de Legazpi in Madrid from 16 April through 28 September 2008. The artefacts span from the days of the last pharaohs to Alexander the Great and the period of Greek rule to the Roman conquest then to the Byzantine times until the beginning of the age of Islam.
These unique objects reflect the importance of three cities counted during Antiquity amongst the most famous centres for trade, science, culture and religion. Influences from Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome mingle with the thousand year old culture of the pharaohs. Rapprochement and mergence gave birth to new religious and cultural ways of life that left a lasting mark on ancient Egypt.
The exhibition furthermore offers spectacular insight into the fascinating work of the divers and marine archaeologists.
A TRAGIC FATE
Alexandria, Heracleion and Canopus all met the same tragic fate, whole sections of the cities disappearing into the sea as the result of natural disasters. Heracleion disappeared without trace. And now, more than a thousand years later, gold coins and sacred objects have emerged from the depths, mute testimony to the tragic events that struck these cities.