Tunnel Dubbed A “Miracle” Could Lead To Cleopatra’s Tomb
Instead of discovering Cleopatra’s hidden tomb, archaeologists found an amazing architectural achievement: a 6.5-foot-tall underground tube that is nearly a mile long. Smithsonian quotes the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism as calling it a “geometric miracle.”
According to Kathleen Martinez of the University of San Domingo, whose team discovered the tunnel cut into the rock more than 40 feet beneath the ruins of the temple of Taposiris Magna outside of Alexandria, it is “an exact replica of the Eupalinos Tunnel in Greece, which is considered as one of the most important engineering achievements of antiquity.”
According to Smithsonian, an aqueduct on the Greek island of Samos operated for a thousand years before Taposiris Magna was constructed. It’s thought that this tunnel also contained water. According to the Times of Israel, at least 23 earthquakes struck the area between AD 320 and 1303, and as a result, portions of it are now submerged under the Mediterranean Sea.
The temple above, which was devoted to Osiris, the deity of the underworld, may have fallen because of the same earthquakes. According to Live Science, its demolition has made it more difficult to locate the grave of Egyptian Queen Cleopatra VII and her lover, Roman general Marc Antony, who committed suicide in 30 BC, marking the end of the era the tunnel dates to.
Antony and Cleopatra were lovers. Martinez thinks that the couple’s tomb could be located at the location, notwithstanding the opinions of other specialists. Coins with Cleopatra’s likeness have been found during previous excavations.
Mummies were also discovered in a cemetery facing the temple, which Martinez believes may be a sign of a nearby royal tomb, according to the Times. She points out that certain mummies were given golden tongues, which were believed to enable communication between the dead and Osiris. According to the Times, Martinez thinks that the tunnel will take her to the tomb and “the most important find of the 21st century.”
She tells the outlet, “This is the first archaeologist to find tunnels, pathways underground [and] inside the enclosure walls of the temple.” However, researchers point out how remarkable the tunnel is. It is thought to have been constructed when Taposiris Magna had between 15,000 and 20,000 residents in order to supply water to the city.