Ancient treasures found off Egyptian coast

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Ancient treasures found off Egyptian coast

Three shipwrecks, a crystal carved head and three gold coins, all dating back to imperial Roman times, have been discovered in Aboukir Bay in the Mediterranean Sea off Alexandria, Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) has announced.

The finds were made during excavations carried out since September by the Ministry of Antiquities' Underwater Archaeology Department, in collaboration with the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology.

The work has taken in Alexandria’s eastern harbour as well as the sunken city of Heraklion.

The three shipwrecks were likely to lead the excavation team to still-hidden treasures, said Dr Osama Alnahas, head of the Central Department of Underwater Antiquities.

He expected a fourth shipwreck to be uncovered in the eastern harbour during the next phase of excavation, because large timber planks had been found along with amphoras that could be the cargo from another vessel.

According to SCA Secretary-General Dr Mostafa Waziri, the carved head was probably that of Roman army commander Mark Anthony, while the coins dated to the time of Octavian, who became the Roman Emperor Augustus, ruling from 27 BC – 14 AD.

Mark Anthony committed suicide following his defeat in battle by his former ally Octavian in 31 BC.

Also discovered in Heraklion was a votive barque dedicated to the Egyptian god Osiris.

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