Kathleen Martinez team discovers 1,305-meter Greco-Roman tunnel in Alexandria

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The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities have announced the incredible discovery of a rock-cut tunnel deep below ground in the area of the Taposiris Magna Temple, west of Alexandria in Egypt. The massive tunnel, which has been described as a ‘geometric miracle’ stretches over 1,300 meters (4,265 feet). The area has been under investigation in the search for the long-lost tomb of Queen Cleopatra .

The tunnel was carved into the rock and is two meters high and 13 meters underground, according to a statement released on Thursday by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. The team, led by archaeologist Kathleen Martinez, discovered the heads of two Ptolemaic-era statues made of alabaster close to the temple, one of which was likely a representation of the sphinx.

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Archaeologists investigating a section of the newly discovered tunnel in Taposiris Magna. Credit: Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

The architectural design of the newly discovered tunnel resembles the magnificent Tunnel of Eupalinos on the Greek Island of Samos, which is considered one of the most important engineering achievements of the Classical world.

Martinez, who called the tunnel “an engineering miracle.” She continued by pointing out that a portion of the tunnel was discovered beneath the Mediterranean Sea and that the mission had discovered several ceramic jars and pots as well as a rectangular block of limestone buried beneath the mud sediments. The mission is attempting to uncover a portion of the Temple of Taposiris Magna’s foundations that have been revealed by numerous pieces of archeological evidence.

She also emphasized that between 320 and 1303 AD, the Egyptian Mediterranean coast was shaken by at least 23 earthquakes, which caused a portion of the Temple of Taposiris Magna to sink and collapse. The discovery of sixteen Greco-Roman catacombs with their corresponding mummies in the Taposiris Magna necropolis, which provide information about mummification practices at the time, was reported by the Egyptian-Dominican mission in January. According to the discoveries made so far, King Ptolemy IV, who reigned from 221 BC to 204 BC, constructed the temple in Alexandria.

The Final Resting Place of Cleopatra?

For the past 14 years, Dr. Kathleen Martínez has been the head of excavations at Taposiris Magna. The discoveries made during that time have made her more and more certain that she is close to the long-lost tomb of Cleopatra VII and her lover Mark Antony . The famous ancient Egyptian queen’s proposed ties to the site has brought it to international headlines as new and intriguing finds and documentaries are made about the site every few years.