Thonis-Heracleion, Alexandria, Meroë, and Jenne-Jeno were once centers of sophistication and wealth, but their fortunes waned over time. Although their ancient splendors disappeared from sight, archaeology is now revealing their glorious pasts.
The massive monuments of Giza and the glorious temples of Thebes bear witness to the greatness of the African cities that built them. But other ancient places in Africa rivaled their greatness, yet traces of these magnificent urban centers have been harder to find. These once-thriving cities, located in present-day Egypt, Sudan, and Mali, slipped into obscurity, their splendor remaining lost to history until modern times, when archaeologists made some surprising finds.
Thonis-Heracleion, Egypt: a booming port
Ancient Egypt’s lost city of Thonis-Heracleion is one of the greatest submerged finds ever discovered by archaeologists. For thousands of years it lay hidden under water, with its existence recorded only in a few rare inscriptions and ancient texts. This port at the mouth of the Nile rose after Egypt’s power faded in the seventh century B.C. Known as Thonis to the Egyptians and Heracleion to the Greeks, it thrived as a vital center of trade and culture, and then disappeared.
This is the first of the four cities in the article. The photos and videos from the article are not accessible in this transcript. If you’re a subscriber to NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, you’ll find all that over here. Otherwise, this is still an interesting read.