Originally called Heracleion by the Greeks but named Thonis by the ancient Egyptians, the existence of the mythical city was confirmed to be true when Dr. Frank Goddio (an underwater archaeologist) made one of the most important discoveries of the 21st century.
Along with his team from the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology, he unearthed the lost city, revealing a treasure trove of artifacts and ruins some 30ft under the Mediterranean Sea in Aboukir Bay, Alexandria. For the past 13 years they have been painstakingly excavating the area, lifting up pieces of history, long since forgotten, from the bottom of the ocean.
As more fragments and elements are brought to the surface, his team has been able to create a virtual model of what the city might have looked like all those years ago. The popular view is that Thonis/Heracleion was in fact a port, due to its location acting as an entry point for merchants and trade. The items that have been discovered during the excavation also support the theory, gold coins, stone ledgers and even weights all suggests a city bustling with energy, commerce and transactions. Over the 13 year period, notable artifacts that have been brought to the surface include 16-ft sculptures that may have been positioned in the citys main temple, whilst a staggering 64 shipwrecks have been discovered.
But while one great mystery has been solved, another still looms. To this day, few can tell with absolutely certainty why the city itself was plunged into the depths of the Mediterranean Sea. What caused it to sink? Did it collapse? Was a natural disaster to blame? Goddios team have spent countless hours piecing together evidence, trying to find an answer
Their theory? The heavy stone used in the construction of the citys buildings would easily have sunk into the soggy clay earth used to hold the foundations in place thats all well and good, but should an earthquake have hit, those very same structures would have slide and tumbled unrelentingly into the watery depths below.
1,200 years on, the city has risen again.
Heracleion aka Thonis was devoured by the foreboding Mediterranean Sea and entombed under a tons of mud, rock and sand.