Egyptian archaeologists say they have discovered a previously hidden ancient tunnel that some believe could lead to the lost tomb of Queen Cleopatra.
Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced last week that an Egyptian Dominican archaeological mission from the University of Santo Domingo discovered the approximately 4,300-foot tunnel some 40 feet underground in the ruins of the Temple of Taposiris Magna near Alexandria, Egypt.
Speculation has arisen that the tunnel could lead to the final resting place of Queen Cleopatra, who lived from 69 B.C. C. and 30 a. C. and was the last ruler of Egypt before the Roman reign in the region.
The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said it is “remarkable” that archaeologists at the site have previously found artifacts bearing the image and name of Cleopatra and Alexander the Great, as well as statues of the goddess Isis.
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“Her royal dynasty had built her tombs in her capital city, Alexandria, and ancient writers tell us that Cleopatra actually went and took refuge in her [already constructed] tomb when the Romans captured Alexandria, and it was probably there that she committed suicide to avoid being displayed in chains in the streets of Rome at Octavian’s triumph,” said Roland Enmarch, senior lecturer in Egyptology at the University of Liverpool, he told Newsweek.
Enmarch said that Taposiris Magna was an “important religious center” during the Ptolemaic and Roman periods in Egyptian history and that the new tunnel is a “fascinating discovery”.
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“It would be exciting but also quite surprising if the famous queen Cleopatra was buried in Taposiris Magna,” Enmarch added.
“If Cleopatra’s tomb is really there, this would be a discovery on par or even superior to that of Tutankhamun in 1922,” Egyptology expert Eleanor Dobson told Newsweek.
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“There are so few images of Cleopatra from her own time [limited to depictions on coins]that seeing her remains, seeing this legendary queen, would totally dominate the media.”
Dobson acknowledged that there are “no concrete theories” about where Cleopatra is buried, but said finally discovering her final resting place would be “sensational.”