The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in Egypt has announced a spectacular discovery beneath the Taposiris Magna Temple. A vast rock-cut tunnel has been found at the site, west of Alexandria. Experts have been searching the area for the long-lost tomb of Queen Cleopatra.
The huge tunnel that has just been discovered has been described as a "geometric miracle" and stretches over 1,300 metres.
The tunnel was found 13 metres below the surface by the Egyptian Dominican archaeological mission of the University of San Domingo, headed by Dr. Kathleen Martinez.
During the excavations at the site various ceramic pots and vessels were unearthed. Two alabaster heads were also discovered close to the temple, one dating to the Ptolemaic period.
A section of the tunnel was submerged underwater, evidence supporting the theory that the foundations of the Taposiris Magna Temple are also underwater. Between 320 and 1303 AD, the Egyptian coast was hit by at least 23 earthquakes, offering an explanation for the collapse and submergence of part of the temple.
The Ancient City Of Taposiris Magna - The Great Tomb of Osiris
Taposiris Magna is an ancient city that was established between 280 and 270 BC by the pharaoh Ptolemy II, the name of the city means "great tomb of Osiris".
The city of Taposiris Magna became a centre for the religious festival of Khoiak after Alexander the Great established Alexandria after conquering Egypt in 332 BC.
The Khoiak festival revolves around the legend of the god Osiris, who was murdered by his brother Seth, and revived by his sister-wife Isis, who conceived their son Horus.
Greek leaders in Egypt who honoured old traditions worshiped Osiris at the temple of Taposiris Magna.
Does This Lead To Cleopatra's Final Resting Place?
Dr Kathleen Martinez has been the head of exploration and excavations at Taposiris Magna for the last 14 years. These recent discoveries have convinced her that her team is close to uncovering the long-lost tomb of Cleopatra VII and her lover, Mark Antony.
Many impressive finds have been uncovered during the excavations. In 2010, a huge headless statue of a Ptolemaic king carved from Granite was discovered.
Dr Martinez said that a statue depicting the head of Cleopatra, along with 22 coins bearing her image had also recently been found.
Behind the temple, researchers uncovered an ancient necropolis, containing many Greco-Roman style mummies that had been buried with their faces pointing towards the temple.
This provides more evidence that the temple was likely the final resting place of a significant royal person, such as Cleopatra.
Will this new discovery lead researchers to the tomb of Cleopatra? Lets wait and see!