A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

NOT an "Onion" Headline: "Sinkhole in Alexandria gives hope for archaeologists to find Alexander the Great’s tomb"

They really mean it apparently:
A sinkhole near the Waterfalls Garden in Alexandra’s Azarita district, where the Greek archaeological mission is excavating, gives archaeologists hope in finding the tomb of Alexander the Great.
On Monday morning, the sinkhole caused the ground to fell several meters.
An archaeologist said in a press statement on Monday that the sinkhole indicates there are ancient artifacts below, adding that this area was a royal Ptolemaic neighborhood where many artifacts have been found before.
The source also said that a building was erected over another Greco-Roman archeological site in the same area, and that the authorities did not approve excavation beforehand.
One of the great "missing" sites in archaeology (one more likely to turn up than the Ark of the Covenant, despite the movies) is the Soma or Mausoleum of Alexander the Great. A landmark of classical Alexandria, it nevertheless is unclear just when it disappeared; some think as early as Julius Caesar, other think well into the Christian era.

People have been looking for it as long as modern archaeology has existed. Often they have disagreed on where to look. Some ancient authors are vague or may confuse it with other structures. It's been "found" many times. Alexandrian folklore long held it was in a crypt under the Mosque of Nabi Danyal in the street of that name; unfortunately, there's nothing there. As recently as August, that esteemed archaeological journal The Daily Mail suggested it had been found in Greece, deapite the near unanimity of ancient authors that he was buried in Alexandria (he died, of course, in Babylon).

Of course, I wish them luck. But I'm not holding my breath.

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