Lonely Planet Writer

Sneak peek at the artefacts recovered from Egypt’s lost cities going on display this week at the British Museum

After more than 1,000 years submerged under the sea, artefacts from Egypt’s lost cities has been recovered will soon be on view to the general public at the British Museum.

Kate Morais looks at the 'Colossal statues of a king and a queen' (283-246 BC) which stand over five meters tall during a preview of the 'Sunken Cities: Egypt's Losts Worlds' exhibiton at the British Museum on May 17, 2016 in London, England. This is the museum's first large scale exhibition of underwater archaelogical finds and tells the story of two lost Egyptian cities and their recent discoveries beneath the Mediterranean, excavated off the coast of Egypt near Alexandria between 1996 and 2012.
Kate Morais looks at the ‘Colossal statues of a king and a queen’ (283-246 BC) which stand over five meters tall during a preview of the ‘Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Losts Worlds’ exhibiton at the British Museum on 17 May. Image by Chris Ratcliffe/Getty Images

The museum’s new exhibit, Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost Worlds, opens 19 May and runs until 27 November. It contains artefacts from lost cities of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus, which were located at the mouth of the Nile, but vanished underneath the Mediterranean centuries ago.

Kate Morais looks at the statue of 'Arsinoe II, queen and goddess' (300BC) next to the 'Shrine of Amun-Gereb' (400-100BC) during a preview of the 'Sunken Cities: Egypt's Losts Worlds' exhibiton at the British Museum on May 17, 2016 in London, England. This is the museum's first large scale exhibition of underwater archaelogical finds and tells the story of two lost Egyptian cities and their recent discoveries beneath the Mediterranean, excavated off the coast of Egypt near Alexandria between 1996 and 2012.
Kate Morais looks at the statue of ‘Arsinoe II, queen and goddess’ (300BC) next to the ‘Shrine of Amun-Gereb’ (400-100BC) during a preview of the ‘Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Losts Worlds’ exhibiton at the British Museum. Image by Chris Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

For the last 20 years, archaeologist Franck Goddio and a team have excavated artefacts from the cities, which will now be on display alongside objects from Egyptian museums.

The 'Royal decree of Sais' (380BC) during a preview of the 'Sunken Cities: Egypt's Losts Worlds' exhibiton at the British Museum on May 17, 2016 in London, England. This is the museum's first large scale exhibition of underwater archaelogical finds and tells the story of two lost Egyptian cities and their recent discoveries beneath the Mediterranean, excavated off the coast of Egypt near Alexandria between 1996 and 2012.
The ‘Royal decree of Sais’ (380BC) during a preview of the ‘Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Losts Worlds’ exhibiton at the British Museum. Image by Chris Ratcliffe/Getty Images

Thonis-Heracleion was one of Egypt’s most important centres of trade and Canopus was a major centre for worshipping the gods, according to the museum. The exhibit will feature artefacts like the more than five-metre tall ‘colossal statues of a king and a queen’ from 283-246 BC, or ‘the Royal decree of Sais’ from 380 BC.

 

For anyone who want to learn more about the adventurers who excavated a sunken city, the museum will hold a special event on 20 May with Franck Goddio and Damian Robinson, director of the Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology and member of Goddio’s team, who will speak about their discoveries and ongoing work in the Mediterranean.