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Egypt Rescues Spectacular Greco-Roman Catacombs from Rising Water Levels

The site offers a rare and prime example of composite funerary architecture blending Greek, Roman and Ancient Egyptian traditions.

The Largest Greco-Roman Burial Site In Egypt Salvaged from Rising Waters

Egypt's Minister of Antiquities, Khaled Al Anani, has announced the completion of a rescue project to salvage what is regarded as the largest and most illustrious Greco-Roman burial sites in Egypt, the Kom Al Shoqafa Catacombs.

Located in Alexandria, the site has been under severe threat since its discovery of 1990 because of rising underground water levels. The rescue, which began in 2017, included the use of six massive water pumps and was completed on Sunday.

The site offers a rare and prime example of composite funerary architecture blending Greek, Roman and Ancient Egyptian traditions.

The Catacombs are similar to those of Rome in that they're both constructed underground, though Kom Al Shoqafa is spread over three floors to the four of its Italy-located counterpart. The site was mainly used from the second half of the 1st century to bury the bodies and remains of three very affluent families, up until more catacombs were added to accommodate a fourth family.

Several ancient sites in Egypt, including the Karnak and Kom Ombo Temples, are threatened by rising underground water levels, which in turn are caused by overflowing irrigation systems, the rise in sea water levels due to artificial dams and the general impact of urban sprawl. There are rescue attempts currently taking` place at Aswan's Kom Ombo Temple, which will be complete in April, according to Al Anani.

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Summer Fest 17 @ Bibliotheca Alexandrina
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Date: 8/21/2019
Time: 7:00pm - 11:00pm
Venue: Bibliotheca Alexandria