Cairo: The discovery of a series of tombs of the rich and powerful from the last days of the Egyptian Empire revives the dream of finding the remains of Cleopatra and of her lover, the Roman general Mark Antony.
“I think we’re getting close,” Dominican archaeologist Kathleen Martinez told Efe news on Friday.
In the land of the Pharaohs, Martinez has taken part in excavation projects since 2005 at the architectural complex of Taposiris Magna near Alexandria, in a tireless search for the tomb of Cleopatra, who, according to legend, committed suicide in the year 30 BC after her lover had bled to death in her arms.
Martinez revealed that inside the complex she recently discovered a new temple, which “will change enormously all we know about Taposiris Magna”.
The archaeologist noted that this whole great cemetery was reserved for “important people, very rich people”, contemporaries of Cleopatra so that it “helps substantiate the theory about why the gentry wanted to be buried there”.
Taposiris Magna is an enormous archaeological site some 7 km long with a great religious complex and a trade centre that was of great importance, while ships sailed into its port directly from Greece.
“And for next season, one thing we’re going to propose is that the Egyptian government allow us to carry out the first undersea exploration in search of the seaport of Taposiris Magna. We have some great projects,” Martinez said.
On the site, the tombs of people from Cleopatra’s court, like military leaders or the priestess who was buried with an ibis covering her face, “indicating that she was a wise, learned soul”, have been found
“We know that women from Cleopatra’s inner circle could read and write. They were scribes, something that was otherwise very unusual. It was very important in her time, but unusual for a woman,” Martinez said.
Cleopatra was the first woman who studied formally at the Musaeum, a leading cultural centre dedicated to the Muses.