The Quest to find the tomb of Cleopatra

Cleopatra and son Ceasarion are portrayed on the wall at the Temple of Dendera

She was the last Pharaoh of Egypt, ruling at a time where the ever expanding empire of Rome threatened the stability of her land.  Cleopatra came to rule nearly 1273 years after King Tut.  The Greek Ptolemaic Dynasty had taken Egypt’s rule nearly 326 years before Cleopatra’s reign by way of Alexander the Great and his conquests over the then known world.

The Ptolemaic Dynasty lacked the great well known traditions that were in place during the golden age of the Pharaohs but Cleopatra sought to reestablish Egypt to it’s former greatness.  She was said to be the first ruler of her dynasty to actually learn the native Egyptian language and take part in other traditional Egyptian practices.  She believed herself to be a living form of the Egyptian god Isis and had herself portrayed as a goddess in his likeness.  She had a son with Julius Caesar, a romance with Marc Antony, and battled with Octavian, a battle she’d ultimately lose as Egypt became a roman province in 30 b.c..  Cleopatra was said to have committed suicide shortly after her lover Marc Antony had done the same.

While the tombs of other Egyptian Pharaoh like King Tut and Ramses the Great have long been discovered, the exact location of Cleopatra’s tomb remains a mystery.  It has long been speculated that Cleopatra was buried in a tomb a short distance outside her palace in Alexandria, a palace thought to now be underwater due to the changing sea levels throughout the years.  New theories have speculated that another possible burial place could be Taposiris Magna near Alexandria, a temple known for burials during this period, a temple also known to be that of Isis, also the goddess Cleopatra aspired to be.  The excavations are headed by famed Egyptologist Zahi Hawass.

But, as I say, archeology is based on theories. We are examining a theory. If we discover the tomb of Cleopatra and Mark Antony, it will be the most important discovery of the XXI century. If we did not discover the tomb of Cleopatra and Mark Antony, we made major discoveries here, inside the temple and outside the temple.

-Zahi Hawass

The excavation of this area has been going on for nearly four years now and continues.  Perhaps only the sands of time will tell if the greatest discovery since the tomb of King Tut is revealed.



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