A 4,281-foot-long tunnel discovered about 43 feet under the Egyptian desert is being called an “engineering miracle,” but is also believed to be inching archeologists even closer to finding the lost tomb of Cleopatra.
An archaeologist from the University of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic has devoted nearly 20 years of her career to finding the queen’s lost tomb. Kathleen Martinez and her team uncovered the tunnel, which was recently announced by the Egyptian Ministry for Tourism and Antiquities.
The tunnel was located in the Tapuziris Magna Temple area, west of the Egyptian city of Alexandria.
“The excavation revealed a huge religious center with three sanctuaries, a sacred lake, more than 1,500 objects, busts, statues, golden pieces, a huge collection of coins portraying Alexander the Great, Queen Cleopatra and the Ptolemies,” Martinez said in an interview with CNN.
The statement from the ministry gave details on the tunnel’s condition, saying, “a part of the tunnel was discovered submerged under the Mediterranean water, a number of pottery vessels and pottery tractors were found under the mud sediment, as well as a rectangular block of limestone.”
Parts of the Tabuziris Magna Temple have been submerged under water.
The Egyptian Dominican archaeological mission of the University of San Domingo noted in their statement that “at least 23 earthquakes hit the Egyptian coast between 320 AD and 1303 AD, leading to the collapse of part of the Tabuzi Temple.”
The president of the Tapuziris Magna Temple area is said to have “drown beneath the waves.”
Cleopatra’s husband, the Roman general Mark Antony, is said to have died in her arms in 30 BCE.
Cleopatra then took her own life after by letting an asp (a venomous snake) bite her, according to many Egyptian historians.
While Cleopatra’s life has been marked by multiple works of literature and popular films, not much is known about her remains or their location.
Martinez said that Cleopatra was known during her time to be the “human incarnation of the goddess Isis,” CNN reported.
Martinez said if the tunnel ends up leading to Cleopatra’s tomb “it will be the most important discovery of the century.”
By Douglas Jones, Scripps National.