Roman-Era Basilica Unearthed on Egypt's Coast

Structure built on top of Cleopatra-era temple
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 7, 2011 3:21 PM CDT
In this image released by Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities Thursday, a detail of a figure of the Graeco-Egyptian god Serapis, which was unearthed during excavations.   (AP Photo/ Egypt's Supreme Council Of Antiquities, HO)
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(Newser) – Egyptian officials say archaeologists have unearthed the first basilica erected in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria. Antiquities authorities say the basilica is dated to the Roman era and was built on the ruins of a temple from the Ptolemaic reign—a period that ended with the death of Cleopatra. Two parallel rows of granite and limestone pillars suggest the basilica was a social site that was also used for trade and judicial matters, today's statement said.

Several statues of the Ancient Egyptian goddess Isis— one showing her breast-feeding—and others of the Graeco-Egyptian god Serapis also have been unearthed during five months of excavations that ended in May when archaeologists hit underground water.

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