For more than 1,000 years, two lost cities lay undisturbed beneath the waters of the Mediterranean. Thonis-Heracleion was a centre of trade, while Canopus was an important place of worship for Egyptians.
It is thought both were founded around the 7th century BC and flourished under Egyptian and then Greek rule. But around the 8th century AD, the seas reclaimed the cities and they lay submerged at the mouth of the River Nile.
Over the past 20 years, a team led by French archaeologist Franck Goddio has excavated the sites. Hundreds of objects are now on display in London, and highlights include: a marble statue of the Egyptian god Osiris, dating from the 1st to 2nd century AD; a colossal red granite statue of the god Hapy; and a hieroglyphic tablet (stela) from Thonis-Heracleion dating to 380 BC.
• Sunken cities: Egypt’s lost worlds runs at the British Museum until November 27. For more information visit www.britishmuseum.org.
Source: art & life