Cities underwater

The beginning of the XX century has become "Golden century" In the history of archeology: the world shocked the opening one grand more than the other. Troy, Tutankhamon’s Tomb, the funeral complexes of China, the Palace, the Pyramids of the American Indians – thanks to the endushast factor, the ancient history of the earth lived literally in front of. By the end of the century, the noise around archaeological research is noticeable. What is all already found? It turns out no – at the turn of the centuries of sensation in the field of archeology, everything is also frequent. Just probably everything is more difficult for us to surprise.

There are modern archeology and other features. For example, treasures their scientists take today not only from under the ground, but from the bottom of the sea. More recently, in June 2000, the head of the European Institute of Underwater Archeology Frank Goddio officially announced the opening. At the bottom of the Bay Abukir in Egypt, a few kilometers from Alexandria, two ancient cities were found!

Going to a meeting with the underwater archaeologist Alexander Belovo – the only our specialist who participated in the works in Abukir’s bay – we painted a picture of the highest romantic picture. Imagine: Swallow under water in flocks and with aqualing, the flocks of mothers of fishes are rushed past, crabs for the bottom walking, corals, jellyfish – beauty! And suddenly you get to God knows when the sanctuary who has gone under the water or nose to the nose come across the Sphinx.

Photos that Alexander showed, only strengthened us in our fantasies. Head Serapisa. Black figure of Isis between huge boulders. Gold coins on the sandy day, cast one and a half thousand years ago.

However, in reality everything turned out to be different. In fact, no palaces with the remnants of paintings on the walls, no sanctuary under water, all destroyed – people, earthquakes, frequent storms – and in addition is covered with a thick layer of growths (more precisely, if you follow the terminology of specialists, lime-specific specifications). So the chip of a unique statue or column from ordinary boulder is very difficult to distinguish.

And what about the impressive photos, footage of the chronicles? It turned out that underwater archeology and underwater video and photographs – this is, as they say, two big differences, two separate arts. In Bay, Abukir parallel with archaeologists work professionals from French film companies "Sinemarina", famous for its underwater filming. Before you make a spectacular photo or kinokra, you need to carefully clean any find – often it is even raised to board the research vessel – and "beautiful" Install on the bottom.

"The same with gold coins or decorations, "says Alexander. – They are found every two weeks (in total during the excavation, I found 18 pieces). And the one who found – the hero, everyone looks at him with envy. And then the coins are collected, put in the bag, wear an aqualant in a beautiful suit and send it to the bottom. He scatters coins on the sand and says: "I quit it now!"".

Since 1999, Alexander has been involved in excavations organized by Frank Goddio, head of the European Institute of Underwater Archeology. Work in the area of ​​Alexandria and Bay Abukir is conducted by the Institute for several years. Throughout the season of excavations (two spring months) in Harbor Alexandria, expedition members live on board a 30-meter yacht "Oseanhe", Anchor-standing in two kilometers from the shore. "Oseanhe" Equipped with the most modern equipment that allows you to control the course of the excavation and study the finds raised on board. And when working in Bay Abukir uses a diving ship "Princess Duda".

Works are carried out very intensively: according to the schedule, scablasts make two dives per day – in the morning and in the evening. Everything goes on average for 3-3.5 hours. Pretty small depths are allowed under water for so long – only 6-8 meters. But the life of the submariners is not sugar: in the area of ​​Alexandria, the water is very turbid, and frequent storms mix valuable items with garbage of modern civilization.

Even before the start of the season, the archaeologists conduct a study of the area of ​​the proposed surveys using a magnetometric method, as well as using a side view hydrolector. A number of exploration dives are performed. Having studied the resulting picture, decide whether to carry out excavations in this place. If so, the next season begins with installation at the bottom of the so-called baseline, which passes through the center of mass accumulation of visible artifacts. Basic line is a durable metal chain with marking through each meter. It has been strengthened on the bottom between powerful steel stakes driven into the ground. In order not to be a deflection, every 10 meters to the base line attach hollow floats, which support it in the position parallel to the bottom. Across the baseline fix a row of transverse lines. The grid thus obtained will allow each find to describe in the coordinate system.

The next stage of work is archaeological intelligence, during which the places of clusters of interesting objects are determined for archaeologists. Scablasts are armed with subtle metal affairs and, like rescuers looking for people who fell into avalanche, hit the selected object with force. A huge role is played by intuition, since objects – thousands. Then they delay their breath and listen, how the feeling object sounds. "If this is a limestone, "explains Alexander, then the blow will be loose, and the sound is blurred. If it is basalt, or a diorit, or marble (something very dense), the sound will be very high, it is well audible under water. So something found".

After exploration, and sometimes parallel with it, the so-called is produced "Stripping": Aqualangists are armed with special scrapers (spatulas) and clean all major items on the bottom. The thickness of the specification layer, by the way, sometimes reaches 30 cm.

And then the excavations themselves begin. Each archaeologist receives a certain area in the area zone and falls "workplace" At the bottom, where the hydroelector is installed (in common – vacuum cleaner), which replaces him a shovel. Hydroelector is such a tricky device that sues soil particles along with water and removes them outside the excavation. Scubaist holds a large socket in his hands and "Vacuuming" bottom. This work requires attention and focus, since "vacuum cleaner" – The system is extremely powerful and can easily squand the hand or foot of the visible submariner. If a small find will accidentally fall into it, it’s not as scary: so that it is not lost, the person specially standing there, where the ejector’s pipe ends and is a small mesh (roar) through which the material is sifted.

And so the meter per meter, day after day, underwater archaeologists examine thousands and thousands of objects covered with a thick layer of growths. To find something, it is necessary to constantly attention and clear organization.

In general, underwater archaeologists – the people are serious, disciplined, disciplined. Without these qualities at the bottom of the sea – nowhere: too unusual conditions in which you have to work. In muddy water, almost nothing can be visible, and although several scablasts are lowered to the bottom, actually work alone. And with any excitement to the sea, even the smallest, at a small depth of a person begins to chat, and the fragments of massive columns and statues represent a real danger to the underwater archaeologist. In a word – extrem. True, our interlocutor refused. For a professional who knows how to control himself, there is nothing extreme in class excavation, but the risk – if there is, then the minimum.

What, it turns out, completely no romance? Archaeologists – submariners hardly agree. Just like in any serious case, the path to victories is not quick and easy.

"When, examining a bottom with a hydrainetor, I found a gold coin (she stood a rib in pound), "Alexander says," I grabbed her, read: "Emperor Focas. Victoria" – This word is so coincided with my mood that I jumped. Grabbed a number of a banging aqualant, showed him a coin. It’s very strong sensations!"

In the year before last, our interlocutor, then a beginner traveler, was lucky to open the find season, finding the head of an ancient statue.

"Feel like a sculptor who scolded this statue. You clean her, look at her and try to give her some form. I am very long her spit. Then he got to the surface, I fell to the franc and I say: "Frank, I seem to find my head!" He is asking: "Are you sure?" (And that year nothing was found yet.) I gave me a tablet: "Go sketch!" I sketched – it turned out such a eared creature! Brought. He said: "Is very similar! And in the end it really turned out to be a head!"

Any expedition ends with a press conference on which the results of the excavation season are summed up. But the climax is still not connected with it, but with the most significant find. In the spring of 2000, the chief event was the discovery of the figure of Isis from the Black Basalt. Although without a head, she was very beautiful. "Archaeologists immediately understood that they found something unique, valuable, and ran around her week", – remembers Alexander.

Raised from the bottom of the finds are not postponed until better times. All participants of the expedition immediately begin to process and study – each in the measure of their abilities. Therefore, the underwater archaeologist should know not only the story – the world, common, newest and oldest, – but also geography, architecture, geology, geophysics, mathematics, oceanology, geodesy, cartography and t. D. and T. NS.; know the most complicated technologies for processing found items; to be "no misters" with cunning technician. We are no longer talking about a computer and several languages ​​- it goes without saying.

Cities underwater

. It started all the century ago: the date of birth of underwater archeology is considered to be 1900. Excavations then carried out divers in heavy, ridicule spafers. In 1943, Jacques Yves Custo, the invenue, opened new perspectives before underwater archeology. And many professionals working in the field of underwater archaeological studies are, above all, scablasts, athletes, people who are in love with the underwater world. And only then the passion for antiquities leads them to archeology.

Now in the area of ​​Alexandria, the excavation is held two major institutes: the European Institute of Underwater Archeology Frank Goddio and the Research Center Alexandria, which is headed by Jean IV Ampere.

In 1994, the Amper is underwater-archaeological surveys from Fort Kate Bay, and for two years, dozens of unique monuments were raised from the water. Among them are the famous granite colossus of one of the Ptolemyev in the apparel of Pharaoh. And the main sensation was the detection at the bottom of the sea of ​​huge stone blocks weighing up to 75 tons. Amper is sure that he found one of the seven wonders of the ancient world – the legendary Faros Lighthouse. More precisely, all that remains from him. Frank Goddio is engaged in the study of the seabed in the area of ​​the modern Eastern port of Alexandria (since 1992) and in Abukir’s bay (since 1997). During this time, the team of experienced aqualangists archeologists made a lot of stunning discoveries.

Thus, the application of the latest technologies and research methods in the Alexandrian harbor made it possible to determine with great accuracy, how the port looked two thousand years ago, restore the contours of the ancient sushi, the modern ideas about which, as it turned out, was completely erroneous. According to the results of research using a special computer program, very accurate maps and schemes are drawn up. They cause the coordinates of all the monuments found. Greek and Egyptian texts, columns, capitals, fragments of walls, sphinxes, statues of Egyptian gods, priests and pharaohs – Not one year will need a scientist to solve the mystery of each monument raised from the water!

The history of the detection of two cities at the Bay Day Abukir, told by Alexander, is a characteristic example of how important discoveries are made today. Archaeological searches in the area began in 1934. Then the divers hired by the Egyptian prince Omar Tussum, found a lot of columns, building blocks at the bottom and even able to get a few small items. After 30 years, a military pilot, who performed the training flight above the bay, reported a large dark spot, which contrastingly stand out against the background of the sandy bottom. For another 30 years, these information remained without attention, and only in 1997, specialists were interested in.AND.NS.A., Since the ancient sources, local residents and magnetometric studies in one voice claimed that at the bottom of the bay there is something interesting.

"In the spring of 1999, everything was ready to start the first season of excavations, "says Alexander. – After the first day that went to the assembly and fitting equipment, a briefing was conducted, the scubalagists were divided into links and the task was delivered to each link: first of all, to identify the nature of the objects on the bottom of the objects and mark all what will cause interest.

On the day of our first dive, the water was quite muddy, in the bay, in general, there are extremely rare days with the visibility of more than two meters. When we sank to the bottom and looked around, our attention almost immediately attracted a lot of columns. Some of them reached 7 meters long. All objects were covered with a 20-centimeter calcium production layer. Having reading small surface areas, we found out that most columns are made of red granite. Also discovered blocks of gray granite, basalt, diorita, brickwork. That day, the whole area of ​​future excavations was littered by buoy, since there was no lack of interesting.

Over the next 50 days of the season of excavations, seven sphinxes were discovered, 15 heads of statues (mostly images of the pharaohs from the Ptolemaev dynasty, some of the high artistic value), a large number of decorations, copper and gold coins.

The 2000 season began with magnetometric and geophysical studies. Map of the Bay of Abukir, compiled according to the results of these studies, allowed to reveal the contours of two monuments. The first is two kilometers from the coast and occupies the space 700×500 meters. Trial dealers have already revealed the foundations of residential buildings and public buildings, and finds the statues allowed to connect this city with the cult of Isis. The second monument is located six kilometers from the first. Here, the remains of large temples, colosus, port structures, and many structures have been preserved very well. Square of the city – about 1 km2".

It is still impossible to definitely say which city found under water. To do this, it is necessary to study all the available written sources in detail and collect more archaeological material. But assumptions already made. In the area of ​​Abukir’s bay, according to the ancient authors (Strabo, Herodotus, Seneca), were the cities of Kangob, Menutis and Hercules. The most ancient of them, who flourished long before the foundation of Alexandria, – Hercules. He was located at the now disappeared nile sleeves. (By the way, geophysical studies of the excavation district, conducted under the guidance of a specialist from Standford University, have already made it possible to detect this river sleeve just near the city found.) In Heracle, there was a temple of Hercules, well known in the whole Mediterranean. In Menutis, there was an equally famous temple of Isis. Perhaps these cities managed to detect underwater archaeologists.

The discoveries made are very important: they can give valuable information about the history and culture of this section of the Egyptian coast. But good results here can be achieved, only by combining the efforts of many sciences, as the excavations can continue about 50 years. It is even difficult to imagine how much you can raise on the surface during this time. And how many pages of our story may have to rewrite!

Cities underwater

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