A treasure trove of ancient Egyptian and Grecian artifacts has been uncovered in sunken temples in a mysterious underwater city off the coast of Egypt.
A team of archaeologists made the discovery while working to uncover the legendary site of Thonis-Heracleion, an Egyptian port city that completely disappeared after sinking into the Mediterranean more than 1,000 years ago.
The new excavation revealed the gold and silver treasure of the sunken temple of Amun, which included artifacts that were likely used to bless the pharaohs as they ascended to the throne. It also found a Grecian temple to Aphrodite and ancient Greek weapons.
“It is very moving to discover such delicate objects, which survived intact despite the violence and magnitude of the cataclysm,” Franck Goddio, president of the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology, who led the excavation with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities of Egypt, said in a statement seen by Insider.
The temple would have had a special significance for Egyptians at the time. Amun was the king of the Egyptian gods. Accordingly, this is where the pharaohs at the time would have gone to be blessed as they rose to power, per the statement.
At the site, the archaeologists discovered artifacts from the temple’s treasury, including gold jewelry and a “Djed pillar,” a symbol of stability, made of a blue semi-precious stone called lapis lazuli.
They also found silver platers and an alabaster container that were likely used to contain perfumes and unguents during ritual ceremonies. Silver would have been extremely rare in ancient Egypt and would have been seen as a very precious commodity, per the statement.