Archeologists find Roman shipwrecks off Egypt’s north coast

Roman shipwreck antiquities

Example of an ancient Roman gold coin with the image of Caesar Augustus. Courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and A.H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd.

CAIRO (AP) – Egypt says archaeologists have discovered three sunken shipwrecks dating back more than 2,000 years to Roman times off the coast of the city of Alexandria.

Tuesday’s statement from Mostafa Waziri, the head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, says the discovery was made in collaboration with the European Institute of Underwater Archaeology.

Waziri says the archeologists also uncovered a head sculpture carved in crystal and three gold coins dating back to Rome’s first emperor, Augustus. Parts of large wooden planks and archaeological remains of pottery vessels were also found, which could have been part of the ships’ cargo.

The discoveries were made in Alexandria’s Abu Qir Bay. Separately from the Roman-era finds, a votive bark of the pharaonic god Osiris was found in the nearby sunken city of Heraklion.

Alexandria is believed to have been founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC. In ancient times, Alexandria was considered the third-most important seat of Christianity in the world, after Rome and Constantinople. The Pope of Alexandria was second only to the bishop of Rome, which was the capital of the Roman Empire until 430. The Church of Alexandria was so powerful, it also had jurisdiction over most of the continent of Africa.

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Auction Central News International contributed to this report.

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