An underground city discovered in the Nile Delta is the Hyksos capital city of Avaris, says Egypt’s Minister of Culture. Farouk Hosni made the claim to Chinese news agency Xinhua in the wake of the discovery at Tell El-Dab’a, in the Delta’s north eastern limits, by an Austrian archaeological team.
SCA Chief Zahi Hawass says radar imaging at the site shows the outlines of streets, temples and houses of the long-lost city, which became the capital of Egypt between 1664 and 1569 BC. (explore the image)
Austrian team leader Irene Mueller says a Nile river tributary which passed through the city, two buried islands, a port and different sized wells are also among the findings.
Avaris was the principle city of the Hyksos, a rebel Asiatic people who invaded Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period. They never extended their empire into Upper Egypt, however, which remained in the hands of Theban Egyptian rulers.
The discovery follows years of underwater exploration at Alexandria and Taposiris Magna(watch a video here) in the hunt for the palace and tomb of Cleopatra. An exhibition of Cleopatra’s relics is currently on show at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute – click here for a slideshow and artefact details.