Franck Goddio, an underwater archaeologist, shares the explorations of three recently re-discovered cities off the coast of Egypt
, including Alexandria
(1997 NOVA documentary *
, and Thonis
(the Egyptian and Greek names for the city
, not to be confused with the ancient Egyptian city of Tanis
). A new documentary on Thonis-Heracleaion
was produced for the Franco-German TV network, Arte
, and you can watch the German version here
Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, there were rumors of strange ruins lurking off the coast of Egypt, but they weren't investigated until the commander of the local RAF base, Group-Captain Cull, noticed the outlines of structures beneath the bay from his airplane in 1933
(PDF, see pg 14 of Minerva Magazine
, Vol. 18 issue 5, 2007). Cull informed Prince Omar Toussoun of what he had seen. Toussoun, an expert on the Nile Delta, explored the region from 1934 to 1940
, but that was the last anyone inquired into the mysteries of the area for some while.
was a financial advisor to national and international organizations and various governments
for over 15 years. In the early 1980s, he shifted his life and focused on underwater archaeology. In 1987, he founded l’Institut Européen d’Archéologie Sous-Marine (IEASM)
, or the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology, which has come to include specialists in the fields of archaeology, history, conservation, restoration, geophysics, geology and technology.
In 1992, the IEASM began to work in cooperation with the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities to research the ancient location and topography of the currently submerged ancient zones of the eastern harbor of Alexandria and of current-day Aboukir Bay
. This lead to the discovery of archaeological sites that are still being excavated to this day, with each year bringing more findings about the ancient trading cities.
Around the year 2000, only two of the cities had been found, as described in this article on Archaeology.org
. The article also notes:
Goddio, who gained notoriety with his work on what may be the remains of Cleopatra's palace on the now submerged island of Antirrhodos * in Alexandria's Eastern Harbor and the discovery of Napoleon's Lost Fleet, sunk at Aboukir in 1798, has spent two years looking for the cities. "With Herakleion, in particular, we have an intact city, frozen in time," said Goddio.
The cities were thought to be Menouthis and Herakleion
, but it was later discovered that the underwater cities adjacent to the sunken portion of Alexandria were Canopus and Heracleion
. The discoveries continue, as described in various publications
, or highlighted in images and video from the explorations