Fruit baskets date back to the 4th century BC and hundreds of ancient ceramic artifacts and bronze treasures have been discovered in the sunken ruins of the legendary city of Thonis-Heracleion beyond off the coast of Egypt.
Thonis-Heracleion was Egypt’s largest port on the Mediterranean for many centuries before Alexander the Great founded Alexandria in 331 BC. The city was sunk in the 2nd century BC, then sank further in the 8th century AD (SCN), after natural disasters including earthquakes and tidal waves.
The fruit basket has been untouched for more than 2,000 years.
But the vast site in Aboukir Bay near Alexandria was forgotten until it was rediscovered two decades ago by French marine archaeologist Franck Goddio, in one of the greatest archaeological finds of recent times. is to find this legendary ancient citadel.
The colossal statues are one of the treasures of a luxurious civilization that has been frozen in time. Some of the discoveries were shown in a large exhibition at the British Museum in 2016.
Goddio was taken aback by the latest discoveries. He told the Guardian the fruit baskets were “incredible”, having been untouched for more than 2,000 years.
They are still filled with doum – the fruit of an African palm tree sacred to the ancient Egyptians. In addition, grape seeds were also found in the basket.
“Nothing was affected. It’s impressive to see the fruit baskets,” Goddio said.
According to Goddio, the reason the fruit basket is intact is because they may be placed in an underground room. This has some meaning. The fruit basket is located in the area where Goddio and his team of archaeologists discovered a mound about 60m high, 8m wide and lavish offerings of the Greeks.
They date back to the early 4th century BC when Greek merchants and mercenaries lived in Thonis-Heracleion. The city controlled the entrance to Egypt at the mouth of the Canopic tributary Nile. The Greeks were allowed to settle there at the end of Egypt’s Second Intermediate Period and build their own holy sites.
Goddio speaks of this high mound as an island surrounded by channels. In those canals, archaeologists also found many bronze utensils with many statues of Osiris – the fertility god of ancient Egypt. In this mound, many miniature ceramics were discovered.
Goddio also found more evidence of the mound being burned, suggesting a “monumental” ritual that resulted in people being barred from entering the site again. It appears to have been sealed off for hundreds of years as no artefacts have been found since the late fourth century, although the city has been around for several hundred years.
He hopes to find answers in a number of finds, including a wooden banquette sofa, a large Attic vase and an exquisitely crafted gold amulet.
About 350m away, archaeologists also found a unique Ptolemaic ship, 25m long. This ship has features of ancient Egyptian construction, with a flat bottom design suitable for navigating the Nile and the plains.