In the 21st, you can watch it being rediscovered on YouTube.

Helen of Troy is believed to have walked there. So is her lover, Paris. The city known as Heracleion to the Greeks of the time and as Thonis by the Egyptians who built it was once a central part of ancient Egypt -- the port of entry to the empire for all ships coming from the Greek world. It was likely established in the eighth century BC, making it even more ancient than the so-famously-ancient city of Alexandria. 

There was one problem, though. "Constructing a huge city on the bank of a river and the shore of a sea," Nature Education puts it, "comes with a risk." And "Thonis took that risk but ultimately paid for it with its life."

Indeed. Sometime around the 8th century AD, Thonis sank into the sea. Most scientists believe that a combination of factors contributed to the cataclysm: a rise in sea level, coupled with a sudden collapse of the sediment-heavy earth on which the city was built.

Whatever the causes, though, the results were clear: Heracleion -- Thonis -- essentially collapsed into itself. The city built upon the water plunged into it.

And then it descended into myth. For hundreds of years, people assumed that, despite historical reports suggesting its existence, the city was nothing but a legend. And then, in 2000, a team of scientists rediscovered the sunken city. Led by the famous underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio, the team conducted a four-year-long geophysical survey of the area that would likely be the city's watery resting place. Finally, they found what they were seeking. Beneath the waters of modern-day Aboukir Bay, a mere 20 miles northeast of Alexandria, the team located the remains of a once-bustling city, silenced by he waters.

And now, 13 years later, the team is sharing the video culled from its underwater discovery. Click here for images of the team's discoveries; and watch above as humans living in the 21st century rediscover the relics of those who lived in the 8th.

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. An aerial photo of downtown Miami.
    Life

    The Fastest-Growing U.S. Cities Aren’t What You Think

    Looking at the population and job growth of large cities proper, rather than their metro areas, uncovers some surprises.

  2. a photo of a BYD-built electric bus.
    Transportation

    A Car-Centric City Makes a Bid for a Better Bus System

    Indianapolis is set to unveil a potentially transformative all-electric bus rapid transit line, along with a host of major public transportation upgrades.

  3. Transportation

    New York City’s MTA Tries a New Role: Suburban Developer

    The largest transit agency in the U.S. is building a mixed-use development next to a commuter rail station north of Manhattan.

  4. a photo of a tiny house in Oregon
    Design

    How Amazon Could Transform the Tiny House Movement

    Could the e-commerce giant help turn small-home living from a niche fad into a national housing solution?

  5. Warren Logan
    Transportation

    A City Planner Makes a Case for Rethinking Public Consultation

    Warren Logan, a Bay Area transportation planner, has new ideas about how to truly engage diverse communities in city planning. Hint: It starts with listening.

×