In July 2018 building workers dug down to about 15 feet at a construction site in the Egyptian port city of Alexandria; then, they came across something as exciting as it was unexpected. The team had uncovered a massive stone sarcophagus – clearly from ancient times. And archaeologists were subsequently called in to handle the latest piece of treasure found under the streets of the ancient city.
In particular, the sarcophagus had been discovered in the Sidi Gaber neighborhood of Alexandria, at a site where a new apartment building was under construction. Alexandria, which overlooks the Mediterranean Sea, was itself founded in around 332 BC by Alexander the Great. At the time, Alexander violently ruled the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon; he would also go on to conquer a large swathe of the world.
And during the Ptolemaic era – when the Macedonian Greeks were in charge – and through to the succeeding periods of Roman and then Byzantine rule, Alexandria was Egypt’s capital. Now, in the modern era, Alexandria is Egypt’s second largest city after the current-day capital of Cairo.