Archaeologists hope tunnel under Egyptian temple leads to Cleopatra’s long-lost tomb

Archaeologists hope tunnel under Egyptian temple leads to Cleopatra’s long-lost tomb

Archaeologists hope tunnel under Egyptian temple leads to Cleopatra’s long-lost tomb

Egyptian archaeologists have discovered a vast underground tunnel near the city of Alexandria and hope it may lead them to the long-lost tomb of Egypt’s last pharaoh and perhaps its most famous ruler, Cleopatra VII.

Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said the 1.3-kilometer-long tunnel was cut into the rock beneath Egypt’s ancient Taposiris Magna temple.

The tunnel, more than 13 meters (43 feet) underground, has been described by the ministry as a “geometrical marvel” that could lead to Cleopatra’s final resting place.

The excavation was carried out by the Dominican-Egyptian Archaeological Mission of the University of San Domingo.

“This is the perfect place for Cleopatra’s tomb,” Dr. Kathleen Martinez, who led the joint mission, told Heritage Key.

“If there’s a one percent chance that the last queen of Egypt might be buried there, it’s my duty to look for her,” Martinez said.

Cleopatra was the queen of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt in B.C. From 51 to B.C. His death in 30, when Rome conquered the country. His death also marked the end of the Hellenistic period.

The love affair and power struggle she waged with Roman dictator Julius Caesar and Roman politician Mark Antony is believed to have had a significant impact on the course of Egyptian and Roman history, the latter immortalized by William Shakespeare in his play Antony and Cleopatra. ยป

“This is the first time that any archaeologist has discovered tunnels and passages underground [and] inside the temple walls,” Martinez said, noting that if the find does lead to Cleopatra’s tomb, it would be “the most important discovery of the 21st century.”

Martinez has been working at the Taposiris Magna Temple for over 15 years and is actively searching for the lost tomb.

Part of the tunnel was found to be submerged under water, supporting the leading theory that the temple’s foundations were also underwater due to at least 23 earthquakes that struck the area between 320 and 1303 AD.

During its latest mission, Martinez’s team discovered several notable artifacts beneath the temple, including coins bearing the names of Queen Cleopatra and Alexander the Great, as well as ancient statues of the Egyptian goddess Isis.

Archaeologists hope tunnel under Egyptian temple leads to Cleopatra’s long-lost tomb

An alabaster head of a statue of Queen Cleopatra, left, part of a mask believed to belong to Mark Antony, and coins depicting Cleopatra are displayed at the Temple of Taposiris Magna, west of Alexandria, Egypt, April 19, 2009. Photo/Amr Nabil)

Previous excavations at the site also found mummies with golden tongues and a cemetery with mummies facing the temple, both signs of a royal tomb being nearby, according to Martinez.

Egypt’s most famous archaeological find to date is considered by many to be the tomb of King Tutankhamun, which was discovered 100 years ago.

If Cleopatra’s tomb is found, that may change.

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