Tuesday, May 27, 2008

More on the search for Cleopatra


An alabaster head of Cleopatra and a mask thought to belong to her lover Mark Antony have been found near Egypt's Mediterranean city of Alexandria, antiquities chief Zahi Hawass said on Monday.

The two treasures, a bronze statue of Goddess Aphrodite and a headless royal statue from the Ptolemaic dynasty, which ruled Egypt between 323 and 30 BC, were discovered by a joint Egyptian-Dominican Republic team of archeologists in the Tapsiris Magna temple, Hawass said.

Some 20 bronze coins stamped with Cleopatra's face were found in underground tunnels 50 metres (164 feet) deep in the archeological site, Hawass said.

The teams had originally been searching for Cleopatra's tomb but Hawass "categorically denied" that they were any closer to finding the queen's burial place.

"We have found nothing that indicates the presence of the tomb," he said, adding that the search for the tombs will restart in November.


Archaeologists from Egypt and the Dominican Republic have unearthed a bronze statue of the goddess Aphrodite and other artifacts during excavations at an ancient temple on Egypt's Mediterranean coast.

Also among the finds were the alabaster head of a Queen Cleopatra statue, a mask believed to belong to Mark Anthony and a headless statue from the Ptolemic era.

Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities announced the discoveries Monday. It issued a statement quoting the Council's chief, Zahi Hawass, as saying several deep cellars were discovered inside the Taposiris Magna temple, which was built during the reign of King Ptolemic II (282-246 B.C.)

Taposiris Magna is an ancient town located on Lake Mariut which is today called Abusir, near the northern coastal city of Alexandria.

For anyone unfamiliear with the site there's a feature about Taposiris Magna on the TourEgypt website, accompanied by a plan and photographs. A more detailed overview is provided in French by the Mission Francais des Fouilles de Taposiris Magna.

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