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Project of the Construction of an Underwater Museum in Alexandria, Egypt Presentation by Ulrike Koschtial, UNESCO Focal Point 2001 Convention on the Protection.

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Presentation on theme: "Project of the Construction of an Underwater Museum in Alexandria, Egypt Presentation by Ulrike Koschtial, UNESCO Focal Point 2001 Convention on the Protection."— Presentation transcript:

1 Project of the Construction of an Underwater Museum in Alexandria, Egypt Presentation by Ulrike Koschtial, UNESCO Focal Point 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage Alaa El-Din Mahrous Director of Underwater Archaeology Department, Alexandria, Egypt

2 The historic background Mention of the port of the Pharos Island by Homer Mention of the port of the Pharos Island by Homer City founded by Alexander the Great in 331BC City founded by Alexander the Great in 331BC Place of the lighthouse, the palace of Ptolemy and Cleopatra Place of the lighthouse, the palace of Ptolemy and Cleopatra Close-by sunken cities of Abukir Bay (Canopus, Herakleion, Menouthis) and site of several battles of Napoleonic times Close-by sunken cities of Abukir Bay (Canopus, Herakleion, Menouthis) and site of several battles of Napoleonic times Large amount of underwater cultural heritage (2,5 hectars in Alexandria Bay) Large amount of underwater cultural heritage (2,5 hectars in Alexandria Bay)

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5 The submersion Subsidence most probably occurred at two moments: Subsidence most probably occurred at two moments: –tsunami of 21 July, 365AD, –around the 8th century Also earthquakes in 955, 10th and 14th century (which destroyed among others the Pharos) Also earthquakes in 955, 10th and 14th century (which destroyed among others the Pharos)

6 History of discovery First discoveries, mainly in the Western Port, by Gaston Jondet in 1911 to 1915 First discoveries, mainly in the Western Port, by Gaston Jondet in 1911 to 1915 Recovery of objects from the Eastern Harbour after discoveries by Kamel Abdul-Saadat in 1962 Recovery of objects from the Eastern Harbour after discoveries by Kamel Abdul-Saadat in 1962 First scientific mission, organized by UNESCO (Honor Frost and Vladimir Nesteroff) in 1968 – topography and discovery of artefacts First scientific mission, organized by UNESCO (Honor Frost and Vladimir Nesteroff) in 1968 – topography and discovery of artefacts Archaeological excavations of Pharos and Ptolemy palace since 1990ies (Empereur, Goddio) Archaeological excavations of Pharos and Ptolemy palace since 1990ies (Empereur, Goddio)

7 Lay-out of the submerged royal quarters of Alexandria in the Eastern Port

8 Artist's view of the ancient Portus Magnus of Alexandria

9 Discoveries by Jean-Yves Empereur Topography of Pharos site Topography of Pharos site monumental doorway in Doric style (Pharos?) monumental doorway in Doric style (Pharos?) 3,000 blocks from Pharos 3,000 blocks from Pharos two monolithic tabernacles two monolithic tabernacles an obelisk of Seti I an obelisk of Seti I a large vasque a large vasque a sarcophagus bathtub a sarcophagus bathtub two papyriform columns of the 19th dynasty two papyriform columns of the 19th dynasty a Roman era honorific column, numerous sphinxes a Roman era honorific column, numerous sphinxes 9 colossal statues 9 colossal statues

10 Discoveries by Franck Goddio: Topography of 'Magnus Portus', Cape Lochias (kings' palaces and royal port), the peninsula, Poseidon temple and Mark Anthonys Timonium Topography of 'Magnus Portus', Cape Lochias (kings' palaces and royal port), the peninsula, Poseidon temple and Mark Anthonys Timonium Excavations at Antirhodos island (Royal House and sanctuary of Isis), finds included Excavations at Antirhodos island (Royal House and sanctuary of Isis), finds included –statues of Priest of Isis, the god Agathodaimon, a Ptolemy king as Hermes, the heads of Antonia Minor and Augustus, and god Thot-Hermes as an ibis –two sphinxes –pavement, timber, columns –a shipwreck –Many other artefacts

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12 The project for an underwater museum 1997 international meeting and 1998 scientific mission sponsored by UNESCO and Egyptian authorities – proposal for underwater museum 1997 international meeting and 1998 scientific mission sponsored by UNESCO and Egyptian authorities – proposal for underwater museum 2006 International workshop recommends construction of museum including underwater parts 2006 International workshop recommends construction of museum including underwater parts

13 The different players Egyptian Authorities – main contractor and overview Egyptian Authorities – main contractor and overview Jacques Rougerie – Leading architect of the team undertaking the feasibility study Jacques Rougerie – Leading architect of the team undertaking the feasibility study UNESCO – establishes International Scientific Advisory Committee (incl. archaeologists Empereur and Goddio) UNESCO – establishes International Scientific Advisory Committee (incl. archaeologists Empereur and Goddio) Frank Goddio and Hilti Foundation – financing of feasibility study from benefits of Alexandria exposition Frank Goddio and Hilti Foundation – financing of feasibility study from benefits of Alexandria exposition

14 Current status January 2009: start of the feasibility study January 2009: start of the feasibility study Spring 2009: First session of the international UNESCO Committee Spring 2009: First session of the international UNESCO Committee January 2010: Finalization of Feasibility Study January 2010: Finalization of Feasibility Study

15 Problems Strong pollution in Bay Strong pollution in Bay Need for integration of the project into the development of the whole of Alexandria Need for integration of the project into the development of the whole of Alexandria Issue of Integrity of Site Issue of Integrity of Site Problem of Financing Problem of Financing Problems of soil stability, earthquake security, uplift of water, security etc. Problems of soil stability, earthquake security, uplift of water, security etc.

16 Description by Rougerie Architecte: Contracting authority : Egyptian Government Depth: 7 meters – Diameter: 40meters – Area: 22 000 m² – Capacity : 3 millions of visitors per year An underwater voyage to the sunken cities of Alexandria. From the lagoon, 3 celestial harps should rise up. An underwater tunnel will lead to a land stela where the monumental statues saved from the waters are exhibited.

17 Thank you


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