(REUTERS AND HILTI FOUNDATION) – The statues of the pharaohs were discovered in the sunken ancient Egyptian city of Thonis-Heracleion in 2002, off the northern Egyptian coast.
Experts say the city, probably founded around the 8th century BC, was the obligatory port of entry for all ships coming from the Greek world.
The underwater city was discovered by French archeologist Frank Goddio.
FRENCH ARCHAEOLOGIST, FRANK GODDIO,
“The cities were submerged because of natural calamities, earthquakes, big tides, collapsing of ground, which made it possible that sea could cover those sites and when we discovered an object, that object was re-covered by sediments and therefore has partially been protected by the sea.”
Egyptian archaeologist Mohammed Abdelmaguid has worked with Goddio on the submerged sites since 1992.
DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL DEPARTMENT FOR UNDERWATER ANTIQUITIES, MOHAMMED ABDELMAGUID,
“The artefacts have an aesthetically value but in the same time, it shows us that there is a continuity in Egyptian beliefs from the ancient pharaoh civilization and to the Greek and Roman times. We have Osiris who became Dionysus and than Bacchus in Roman times.”
Boasting 250 treasures discovered underwater, ‘the Mysteries of Orisis’ exhibition opens Tuesday at the Arab World Institute in Paris.
The exhibition comes at a time when Islamic State militants have destroyed cultural antiquities, and some say this exhibition is a nod to the importance of preserving and protecting Arab world heritage.