The hunt for the tomb of Cleopatra (and Mark Anthony)

Archaeologist Kathleen Martínez (1966) of the University of Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) and her team are researching a temple complex in the ancient Egyptian city of Taposiris Magna. The ruined city is situated some 50 kilometres southwest of Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast. In 2022 they uncovered a vast tunnel that experts are referring to as a 'geometric miracle'. The structure runs 13 meters below the ground. The 2-meter tall tunnel had been hewn through an incredible 1,305 meters of sandstone. However, parts of the tunnel are flooded. Its purpose is currently unknown.
Its design, the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said, is remarkably similar to the 1,036-meter Tunnel of Eupalinos (Ευπαλίνιον όρυγμα), an aqueduct from 6th century BC on the Greek island of Samos.

Martínez, who has been working in Taposiris Magna since 2004 in search of the lost tomb of Cleopatra VII (69-30 BC), believes that the tunnel could be a promising lead. Previously, the excavations did yield some promising clues, but no definitive proof regarding the whereabouts of Cleopatra's tomb has been found.

The city of Taposiris Magna was founded around 280 BC by Ptolemy II, the son of Alexander the Great's renowned general and one of Cleopatra's forebears. The temple itself, the team believes, was dedicated to the god Osiris and his queen, the goddess Isis, the deity with whom Cleopatra courted a strong association. Coins bearing the names and likenesses of Cleopatra and Alexander the Great have been found there, as well as figurines of Isis.
It is quite possible that Cleopatra and her husband Mark Antony (83-30 BC) may have been interred in one single tomb, because her last wish was that she be buried with Mark Anthony. A wish that was granted by Ceasar. It is also possible that Mark Anthony was cremated, which could mean that Cleopatra can still embrace the urn which contains his ashes.

The next stage will be exploring the nearby Mediterranean. Between 320 and 1303 CE, a series of earthquakes rocked the coast. These caused parts of the temple to collapse and other parts were swallowed by the raging sea. In addition, excavations had previously revealed a network of tunnels stretching from the brackish Lake Mariout to the Mediterranean.

But according to Zahi Hawass (1947), former Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs, there's "no evidence" that Cleopatra is buried at Taposiris Magna. "I believe now that Cleopatra was buried in her tomb that she built next to her palace and it is (now) under the water," the old man claimed in 2021. "Her tomb will never be found."

Kathleen Martínez respectfully disagrees.

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