Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Alexandria, before Alexander

Via Alun Salt's nifty Historyscape feed comes this LiveScience article about Rhakotis, a town on the site of what would later become Alexandria. Sediment cores from the harbor suggest that there was a "flourishing urban settlement" more than 700 years before Alexander marked out his city's limits.

Archaeology is usually a grimy business, but the Smithsonian's Jean-Daniel Stanley says that getting these cores set a new standard in that regard:

Collecting these samples underwater proved challenging. "Alexandria now is home to as many as 4 million people, and we were in the unfortunate position of having to deal with their discharge—human waste, municipal waste, industrial waste—which got released into the harbor," Stanley said. "It's not funny, but you have to sort of laugh."
The Smithsonian's magazine ran a more extensive piece on this dig back in April.

ETA: Apologies to David Meadows for inadvertently stealing the title of his entry on a similar article...

1 comment:

DrH said...

You never know what you may run into online. This is one blog that I'll have to dip into.