Stele of Thonis-Heracleion: A Lost City Rediscovered

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If you are a fan of archaeological discoveries, you must have heard of the recent findings of the Stele of Thonis-Heracleion. This discovery is one of the most significant archaeological finds of the 21st century, as it sheds light on the lost city of Thonis-Heracleion, which was once a thriving port city in ancient Egypt. In this article, we will explore the history of Thonis-Heracleion, the discovery of the Stele, and its significance in our understanding of ancient Egypt.

History of Thonis-Heracleion

History of Thonis-Heracleion

Thonis-Heracleion was a bustling port city located in the Nile Delta in ancient Egypt. The city was founded in the 8th century BCE and was an essential hub for trade between Egypt and the Mediterranean. It was known by many names, including Thonis, Heracleion, and the “Egyptian Atlantis.” The city was prosperous and was a center of worship for the god Amun. However, in the 4th century CE, the city was destroyed by natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods.

Rediscovery of Thonis-Heracleion

Rediscovery of Thonis-Heracleion

For centuries, the city of Thonis-Heracleion was lost, and its existence was only known through ancient texts and inscriptions. However, in 2000, a team of French archaeologists led by Franck Goddio discovered the ruins of the city. They used advanced underwater technology, including sonar and 3D mapping, to locate the city’s remains submerged in the waters of the Mediterranean.

Stele of Thonis-Heracleion

Stele of Thonis-Heracleion

One of the most significant discoveries in Thonis-Heracleion was the Stele of Thonis-Heracleion, which was found in 2001. The Stele is a massive stone slab that stands at over 2 meters tall and weighs over two tons. It was found near the ruins of a temple dedicated to the god Amun.

Significance of the Stele of Thonis-Heracleion

The Stele of Thonis-Heracleion is essential because it provides valuable insights into the religious practices of ancient Egypt. The inscription on the Stele is a decree issued by King Nectanebo I, who ruled Egypt from 380 to 362 BCE. The decree orders the construction of a temple dedicated to the god Amun in Thonis-Heracleion.

Other Discoveries in Thonis-Heracleion

Apart from the Stele, many other fascinating discoveries were made in Thonis-Heracleion. The archaeologists found a vast array of artifacts, including statues, coins, jewelry, and pottery. They also discovered the remains of several ships, which provide insights into the city’s maritime history. These discoveries have helped historians and archaeologists understand the city’s culture, religion, and economy.


The rediscovery of Thonis-Heracleion and the Stele of Thonis-Heracleion have provided us with valuable insights into ancient Egypt’s history. The Stele is essential because it sheds light on the city’s religious practices and provides evidence of the existence of a temple dedicated to the god Amun. The discovery of Thonis-Heracleion and its treasures is a reminder of the vastness and richness of ancient Egyptian civilization.

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