CNN World News

alexandria

Divers recover ancient wonders

October 4, 1995
Web posted at: 11:15 p.m. EDT (0315)

From Correspondent Gale Young

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (CNN) -- Until now, the ancient city was lost to everyone but divers. The Alexandria of Anthony and Cleopatra spreads across 2 acres under the choppy waters of the Mediterranean. The fishes playing with sphinxes and colossal statues make a very strange impression.

underwater shot

The murky depths conceal the remains of palaces, pharaonic statues and a colossal lighthouse. It's a gold mine for archeologists fishing for clues about a colorful past. Archeologist Honor Frost says that the waters are chock full of remains, possibly containing such treasures as Alexander's tomb.

water
balloons

French marine archeologists have an ambitious plan to raise the lighthouse piece by piece, along with dozens of other pharaonic artifacts. They plan to use balloons to float the stones to the surface.

The lighthouse was built in 280 B.C. By the time of Cleopatra, it was considered one of the seven wonders of the world. An earthquake in the fourth century A.D. sent it toppling into the Mediterranean. There it remained with the rest of the city until this century, when technology allowed archeologists access.

Rough weather hampered the first day of the planned retrieval. But it was hardly a bust. Archeologists lifted the torso of a pharaonic goddess into the sunshine, shedding new light on long-buried treasures that, until now, could only be imagined.



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