September 24, 2021

TPT News

Voice Of India

‘Major breakthrough’ in Cleopatra hunt as 200 royal coins pinpoint tomb after 2,000 years

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EGYPT archaeologist Kathleen Martinez is convinced that she has pinpointed the final resting place of Queen Cleopatra, after discovering 200 coins depicting her face at an ancient temple site in Alexandria, TPT News can reveal.

Cleopatra was the last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt and perhaps one of the most famous of all pharaohs, but her tomb has never been found in the 2,000 years since she died. 

Archaeologists have traditionally searched for evidence close to the centre of Alexandria, where she was born and ruled, with many believing that all remains of the great ruler may have been destroyed by a powerful earthquake that struck the coast of Greece in 365AD – causing a tsunami to devastate the ancient town.

Dr Martinez has dedicated her life to finding Cleopatra’s tomb, and she is convinced she actually lies 30 miles outside of the city, in the ancient temple site of Taposiris Magna – dedicated to the goddess Isis.

This year, following her most ambitious dig yet, the archaeologist made a stunning breakthrough, discovering 200 coins at the site depicting the ruler’s face and bearing her name. 

Coins are key tools for archaeologists to date sites, and since these coins have Cleopatra’s portrait and name on them, Kathleen can now argue that the Isis temple was in use during Cleopatra’s reign.

Egyptologist Dr Glenn Godenho

“What Kathleen needs to do next is find evidence to prove that Cleopatra herself had a personal connection to Taposiris Magna.”

“It’s a tall order, but she’s very determined.”

The hunt for Cleopatra's tomb is on after 200 coins were found depicting her face
The hunt for Cleopatra’s tomb is on after 200 coins were found depicting her face

On Thursday night, Channel 5 aired their new series ‘The Hunt for Cleopatra’s Tomb’ where they documented Dr Martinez’ activities during this year’s digging season.

Presented by Dr Godenho, he revealed the moment that they came across the stunning find.

He said: “Foundation plates were used to dedicate a temple to a particular god and outline the area in which the temple would be built.

“Carved into these foundation plates in Greek and Egyptian hieroglyphs Kathleen and her team found something extraordinary.

“The inscriptions state that this is a temple dedicated to Isis built by Ptolemy IV Philopato whose statue they found.

Archaeologist Kathleen Martinez has dedicated her life to finding Cleopatra
Archaeologist Kathleen Martinez has dedicated her life to finding Cleopatra

“But that’s not all they discovered.”

The series then showed the stunning collection of coins found buried in the sand.

Dr Godenho added: “This is an altar where the priest would make offerings to the gods in the name of the pharaoh.

“These coins might hold a clue to any other pharaoh’s link to the temple.

“They’ve been corroded over the centuries, but after weeks of painstaking work, Kathleen’s team finally managed to clean them up to reveal an image and a name.

“On one side of the coin, in Greek, was the name Queen Cleopatra, and on the other, her face.

The team found 200 coins buried in the sand
The team found 200 coins buried in the sand

“It was a major breakthrough and an incredible archaeological find, not only linking Cleopatra directly to Taposiris Magna but also revealing a striking image of the queen.”

Incredibly, the coins also help archaeologists paint a better picture of Cleopatra.

Dr Joyce Tyldesley said: “If we look at these we can see that she’s got quite a prominent nose, she’s got probably what we would call a double chin, to be honest. 

“She’s not necessarily what we’d call a classical beauty.”

The coins show Queen Cleopatra in a new light
The coins show Queen Cleopatra in a new light
Dr Glenn Godenho hailed the find as a major breakthrough
Dr Glenn Godenho hailed the find as a major breakthrough