The ancient city of Heracleion, often referred to as the “Egyptian Atlantis,” has captivated explorers and divers for decades. This city, which was built in the 12 th century B.C., was once Egypt’s main port for international trade.

Now, underwater archaeologists have discovered the remains of an ancient Greek temple and treasure-laden ships containing jewellery and gold coins. They also found 2,000-year-old pottery, bronze coins and ancient columns from the era of King Ptolemy II who reigned 283 to 246 B.C.

The lost city, Heracleion, is also mentioned in the ancient texts but was perceived more as a mythical city. Historians say, Heracleion was very much real and consumed by the Mediterranean Sea over a thousand years ago. It was often rattled and battered by earthquakes and tsunamis. And this is what led to Heracleion’s sinking. And centuries of floods from the River and silt have buried the ancient city’s ruins and artefacts.

A tourist walks in front of the Great Giza pyramids on the outskirts of Cairo
A tourist walks in front of the Great Giza pyramids on the outskirts of Cairo. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Since its discovery in 2011, it has been drawing archaeologists from all over the world. This week, Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities said underwater archaeologists used a high-tech scanning device to uncover new parts of the ancient settlements. It said sections of the city’s main temple were revealed, as well as a handful of new ports. This helps the exploration team to expand their ever-growing map of the ancient city. The Ministry, according to The Sun, said shipwrecks dating back to the 4 th century B.C. were found to hold jewellery, coins and crockery.

Researcher Frank Goddio, who led a team of divers on a recent expedition, in a blog said over the years of exploration, archaeologists have found dozens of sarcophagi, giant statutes of pharaohs, a sphinx and hundreds of god and goddess statutes, 64 ancient ships, 700 anchors and hundreds of gold coins. And they continue to find more and more treasures.