Egypt’s Sunken Treasures

13 May to 4 September 2006

Poster of the exhibition “Egypt’s Sunken Treasures“

Poster of the exhibition “Egypt’s Sunken Treasures“

World premiere in Berlin:
Exhibition “Egypt’s Sunken Treasures” in the Martin-Gropius-Bau

Long lost testimonies to past cultures will have their world premiere from 13 May to 4 September 2006 in the Martin-Gropius-Bau.

As announced by French underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio and Gereon Sievernich, director of the Martin-Gropius-Bau, the exhibition “Egypt’s Sunken Treasures” will display unique finds that were discovered during Goddio’s underwater expeditions along the Egyptian Mediterranean coast, near Alexandria and Aboukir, with the generous support of the Hilti Foundation.

Some 500 artefacts that with few exceptions have never been shown in public will be displayed here for the first time. They will give insight into 1,500 years of Egyptian history (700 BC to 800 AD).

“Egypt’s Sunken Treasures” have already aroused worldwide interest, and the professional archaeologists as well anxiously await the opportunity to examine the sensational archaeological finds.

Goddio and his team, in cooperation with the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt, have been exploring such legendary sites as the ancient port of Alexandria with parts of the royal quarter since the mid-1990s. The famous ancient cities of Herakleion (Candia) and Canopus lying in the sea before Aboukir were rediscovered by Frank Goddio. He found there among other things important temple installations with cult objects.

The former centres of highly developed scientific and religious cultures and international trade met with a devastating fate more than 1,000 years ago: natural disasters caused them to sink into the sea. They are nevertheless still famous today due to their close connection with the legendary Greek hero Heracles, with Helen and Paris, Alexander the Great and Cleopatra.

Franck Goddio’s unique finds reveal far-reaching and in many respects completely new insights into Egyptian history. For long periods of time Egypt was marked by conquests through foreign dynasties. Influences from Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome led to fusions of cultural and religious forms of life, as clearly verified by the finds from Herakleion, Canopus and Alexandria. This mixture of ancient cultures developed in the course of centuries into one of the important foundations of our present Western civilization.

Alongside the finds, the exhibition provides spectacular insights into the mysteries of the underwater world and the adventurous and fascinating work of the divers and underwater archaeologists.

Participating in the research work is the Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology, an affiliate of Oxford University, which will hold a scientific symposium in Berlin during the exhibition.

Organizer: Franck Goddio and Hilti Arts and Culture GmbH
in cooperation with Martin-Gropius-Bau and Berliner Festspiele
Patronage: Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, President of the Arabic Republic of Egypt, Horst Köhler, President of the Federal Republic of Germany
Curator: Franck Goddio (Paris)
Venues: Berlin (world premiere): Martin-Gropius-Bau, Paris: Grand Palais, Bonn: Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany, Madrid: Matadero, La Venaria Reale (Turin): Orangery of the Reggia di Venaria Reale, Yokohama: Pacifico Yokohama