Roman-era basilica unearthed in Egypt

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Egyptian officials say archaeologists have unearthed the first basilica erected in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria. 

Detail of the ruins of a basilica which was unearthed during five months of excavations that ended in May when archaeologists hit underground water. Egyptian officials say archaeologists have unearthed the first basilica erected in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria. The Antiquities Authority says the basilica is dated to the Roman era and was built on the ruins of a temple from the Ptolemaic reign that ended with the death of Cleopatra [Credit: Egypt’s Supreme Council Of Antiquities, HO/AP]

Antiquities authorities say the basilica is dated to the Roman era and was built on the ruins of a temple from the Ptolemaic reign that ended with the death of Cleopatra. 

Figure of the Graeco-Egyptian god Serapis, which was unearthed during five months of excavations that ended in May when archaeologists hit underground water. Egyptian officials say archaeologists have unearthed the first basilica erected in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria. The Antiquities Authority says the basilica is dated to the Roman era and was built on the ruins of a temple from the Ptolemaic reign that ended with the death of Cleopatra [Credit: Egypt’s Supreme Council Of Antiquities, HO/AP]

A statement Thursday says two parallel rows of granite and limestone pillars suggest the basilica was a social site that was also used for trade and judicial matters. 

It says several statues of the Ancient Egyptian goddess Isis — one showing her breast-feeding — and others of the Graeco-Egyptian god Serapis also have been unearthed during five months of excavations that ended in May when archaeologists hit underground water. 

Source: Associated Press [July 08, 2011]

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