The discovery was made at a site west of Alexandria, the former capital of Egypt. The Egyptian team unearthed evidence of an ancient pottery workshop, with the remains of rounded vessels, coins, figurines and even a “ritual room”. The experts say the site dates to the Roman period of Egypt’s history, which began around 30BC, but there is also evidence that points to its use during the later Byzantine period.
Also uncovered at the site were two burials – including a pregnant woman – that are believed to date from the later Middle Ages.
There is evidence of up to 100 graves, which the team will not continue to probe.
Dr Salima Ikram, professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo, said: “Alexandria was very significant during the Ptolemaic era because it was founded by Alexander the Great.
“It is wonderful to have a whole industrial section of the ancient city, as it tells us about the daily workings of Alexandria, its people and its economy.”
The mission also discovered a group of 13 rooms built from limestone, which included a room for worshipping.
The rooms are believed to have been built during the Ptolemaic period.
Found inside were a number of bizarre animal bones belonging to pigs, sheep, goats and fish.
Inside another room was clay containers willed with animal remains – believed to have been used as storage.
On the floor, the team found a large number of coins bearing the faces of Alexander the Great, the Greek god Zeus and Egypt’s final Queen Cleopatra.
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“She built it, quite possibly, in the area opposite the modern-day library of Alexandria, in a peninsula jetting out into the ocean.
“Some material has been found underwater which may have come from the mausoleum.
“People have looked and not found the clinching evidence, but I think if I had unlimited funds and permission that’s where I’d want to go – underwater.
“I would want to conduct as thorough as possible survey of the ocean floor in that area.”