Diving, not digging, for Egyptian artifacts

Submerged treasures: Underwater archaeologists, like this one, are now swimming and searching the upper Nile River looking for ancient Egyptian artifacts.
Submerged treasures: Underwater archaeologists, like this one, are now swimming and searching the upper Nile River looking for ancient Egyptian artifacts.Courtesy Viv Hamilton
Archaeologists dig and sift their way to finding the clues of previous cultures, right?

Not all the time. A recent project in Egypt has archaeologists donning wet suits and scuba gear to find cool things from ancient Egyptian culture.

The changing course of the Nile River has necessitated archaeologists going “hydro” in their search. And last month they discovered an entryway to a temple near Aswan in Upper Egypt.

It’s the first major underwater discovery of Egypt antiquities for a multi-year project that began this year. The under-water discovery is an entryway to a temple dedicated to Khnum, the ram-headed god of fertility.

Made of massive rocks that weigh in the tons, the portico can’t be taken away from its submerged home, but divers were able to remove a one-ton stone that are part of the entryway that has inscriptions that could give more clues to when it was built, what its purpose was or other information about life from that ancient time.

The larger scope of the project is to do a complete survey of the riverbed of the Nile from Aswan to Luxor starting this fall. Along with the changing course of the river of the centuries, archaeologists think they’ll be able to find artifacts that had fallen overboard while being shipped on the river. Some artifacts are known to be in the waters having been recorded lost through accidents from Egyptian treasure seekers in earlier centuries.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Dud, you're about the only Buzz writer these days who knows how to report science news in a clear and interesting way--and without burying the lead under a bunch of sensationalistic mumbo jumbo. Keep up the good work, man.

posted on Mon, 06/02/2008 - 12:30pm
Thor's picture
Thor says:

Well, I hope you meant "Dude" and not "Dud," although I have been called worse in the past.

posted on Mon, 06/02/2008 - 1:45pm
bert123's picture
bert123 says:

since they found the entry did they go into it? how did they think to go into the water to find artifacts?
IBI Call it what you want IBI

posted on Fri, 06/06/2008 - 4:39pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

this is actually interesting i never thought the nile was so important but now i relize how important it is to keep the water clean we r lucky to have clean water. sometimes we take advantege of it

posted on Mon, 03/30/2009 - 10:57am

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