In the ancient city of Taposiris Magna, west of Alexandria, archaeologists in Egypt have uncovered a tunnel carved out of rock beneath the Taposiris Magna Temple. At a depth of roughly 13 metres below the surface, a tunnel cut into the rock was discovered. Coins, headless sculptures, and statues of gods were among the artefacts discovered there. The tunnel was referred to be a ‘geometric miracle’ by the University of Santo Domingo’s Egyptian Dominican archaeological team, which was led by Dr. Kathleen Martinez.
The tunnel is 1,305 metres long and around 2 metres high, according to a statement from the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. The Jubilinos Tunnel in Greece is similar to this tunnel’s architectural style, according to Dr. Martinez, although this one is longer. The Taposiris Magna temple’s archaeology is complicated, though, as some of it is submerged beneath the Mediterranean Sea and it has seen multiple earthquakes throughout the years.
Although Martinez acknowledged that there is a 1% chance that they will find the tomb of Cleopatra and her lover Mark Antony, she stated in an interview that she is confident they will. If they do, it would be ‘the most momentous discovery’ of this century. Cleopatra and Mark Antony had perished after falling to Octavian, Caesar’s successor who was vying for control of the Roman empire at the time, in a battle in Greece. Since their graves were never discovered, some people think the two committed suicide.
According to Martinez, in an interview with National Geographic, ‘Cleopatra bargained with Octavian to enable her to bury Mark Antony in Egypt’. The Egyptian queen, she said, wanted to recreate the story of Isis and Osiris because ‘the actual essence of the worship of Osiris is that it offers immortality’. After they passed away, ‘the gods would permit Cleopatra to dwell with Antony in another kind of existence, so they would enjoy endless life together,’ said Martinez. Notably, the temple was constructed in honour of Osiris, an ancient Egyptian deity of the underworld, and Isis, his wife, a goddess in her own right.
The tunnel, according to Live Science, was built during the Ptolemaic period, which lasted from 304 BC to 30 BC and was controlled by rulers who were descended from one of Alexander the Great’s generals. The crew also discovered many significant artefacts during past excavation seasons, including coins bearing the names and likenesses of both Cleopatra and Alexander the Great. The crew also discovered three headless sculptures, statues of the goddess Isis, and a number of ceramic vessels in the mud silt in an area buried below.