Artifacts from the BA Antiquities Museum among the collection selected for the British Museum first exhibition of underwater archaeology
31 May 2016
Three-hundred outstanding pieces will be brought together for the Exhibition, including more than 200 spectacular finds excavated off the coast of Egypt, near Alexandria, between 1996 and 2012. Important loans from Egyptian museums rarely seen before outside Egypt (and the first such loans since the Egyptian 25 January Revolution) will be supplemented with objects from various sites across the Delta drawn from the British Museum’s collection; most notably from Naukratis, a sister harbor town to Thonis, Heracleion, and the first Greek settlement in Egypt. Twelve artifacts from the BA Antiquities Museum were among the collections selected for the Exhibition.
Likely founded during the 7th century BCE, Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus were busy, Cosmopolitan cities that once existed on adjacent Islands at the edge of the fertile lands of the Egyptian Delta, intersected by canals. The Exhibition will reveal how cross-cultural exchange and religion flourished, particularly the worship of the Egyptian god of the afterlife, Osiris.
By the 8th century CE, the sea had reclaimed the cities and they lay hidden several meters beneath the seabed, their location and condition unclear. Although well-known from Egyptian decrees and Greek mythology and historians, past attempts to locate them were either fruitless or partial. The Exhibition will show how a pioneering European team led by Franck Goddio in collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities.