The British Museum has announced a major new exhibition that will focus on two lost Ancient Egypt cities and their recent rediscovery beneath the Mediterranean seabed. 

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Colossal statue of Hapy. IVth Century B.C. Thonis-Heracleion.Maritime Museum, Alexandria. (C) Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation – photograph: Christoph Gerigk. 

Opening in May 2016, Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost Worlds  is the British Museum’s first exhibition dedicated to discoveries made underneath water.

The display will reveal how the rediscovery of the  lost cities of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus will help develop our understanding of the relationship between Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece.

Having remained submerged underneath the mouth of the Nile for the past 1000 years, this new exhibition will bring together over three hundred objects to reveal the great importance of these two cities.

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Statue of Arsinoe, Canopus, Aboukir Bay, Egypt. (c) Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation. Photograph by Christoph Gerigk. 

As well as 200 finds excavated off the coast of Egypt between 1996 -2012, the exhibition will also feature loans from Egyptian museums that have rarely been seen outside of the country before.

Due to the underwater setting, many of the objects selected for the exhibition are extremely well preserved, revealing with more clarity than ever before the way in which the Greeks and Egyptians interacted with each other in Ancient times.

There will be a number of monumental sculptures on display, including a 5.4 metre granite statue of Hapy – a divine personification of the Nile’s flood, as well as a large number of modest and grand objects.

Sir Richard Lambert, Chairman of the British Museum said: “It’s hugely exciting to announcing the British Museum’s first large-scale exhibition of underwater discoveries and to be welcoming these important loans to London.”

Meanwhile exhibition co-curator and President of Institut Européen d’Archéologie Sous-Marine (IEASM) Franck Goddio said: “My team and I, as well as the Hilti Foundation, are delighted that the exhibition with discoveries from our underwater archaeological expeditions off the coast of Egypt will be on display at the British Museum. It enables us to share with the public the results of years of work at the sunken cities and our fascination for ancient worlds and civilisations.”

Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost Worlds opens at the British Museum from the 19th May and will be on display until the 27th November 2016. Tickets are available to book now. 

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