The discovery of an ancient statue of Alexander the Great in Egypt has rekindled interest in one of the most significant people in human history. Archaeologists excavating in the ancient city of Alexandria have discoved artifacts and a new sculpture dated to the 2nd century BCE. This, and other recent finds, may end up solving a quest that has gone on for centuries.
The discovery was made at excavations in the al-Shatby ancient suburb of Alexandria in use between the 2nd century BCE and the 4th century CE. The team of excavators initially found molds for statues of Alexander the Great at the site, as well as the alabaster bust of Alexander. Such places were populated during Greek and Roman eras of Egyptian history. The excavators believe this area was a residential and trade center during the Ptolemaic period.
The chief archeologist in charge of these excavations, Ibrahim Mustafa, says his team are using modern topographical lifting techniques and 3-D imaging to assist in documenting this site. But this discovery is but one of many recent finds that have archaeologists on the edges of their seats. Excavators in other parts of Alexandria think they may have found clues to the long lost tomb of Alexander, which has been a kind of “Holy Grail” quests since thousands of years.
Considered by many to be the greatest conqueror in human history, Alexander was just 20 years old when he became king of Macedonia when his father, Philip II, was assassinated in 336 B.C. Over the next 12 years the ambitious, genius Alexander toppled every rival empire in he encountered, including the Persians and the Egyptians. He made himself pharaoh, and was considered to be a god to the peoples he ruled over until his death in 323 B.C. at age 32.
A couple of years ago, excavations in Alexandria’s ancient royal quarter clued archaeologists who have been searching for the hero’s finally resting place. Calliope Limneos-Papakosta (above with Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis, to the National Museum of Alexandria) and her team discovered a magnificent marble statue of Alexander, along with other clues that may lead to the discovery of his long lost tomb. The archaeologists is literally turning over every stone in her quest to find Alexander’s tomb.
Most recently, Limneos-Papakosta began collaborating with DNASequence SRL to use DNA for better understanding the social patterns of this region. Using this technology, it may be possible for the archaeologists to trace the effects of natural disasters, plagues, and so forth, in order to get a picture of the layout and location of Alexandria in the distant past. At least this is my interpretation of what could be accomplished.
Alexandria today is nothing like it was in the time of Alexander. Sea level rise, and nature events from before written history have affected this part of the Mediterranean. Back in 365 A.D. fo instance, powerful tsunami waves destroyed much of the city. The finds of current digs are actually 10 meters beneath what is current sea level. So, it is possible that monumental finds may still lay beneath other sections of the modern city. The key for finding them will be understanding the layout of Alexandria in ancient days.