Swallowed by the Sea - Ancient Egypt's Greatest Lost City

Swallowed by the Sea - Ancient Egypt's Greatest Lost City


We all know about Alexandria, one of the greatest cities of the classical world, with its great Library and fabled Lighthouse. But Heracleion? A great port and religious centre at the mouth of the Nile, it was mentioned by the likes of Herodotus, but at some point it vanished, and its location became unknown. Until 2000, that is, when marine archaeologists discovered the city’s remains close to Alexandria, a few kilometres off the coast and only ten metres underwater…

The finds are astonishing – temples, colossal statues, gold jewellery, myriad types of pottery from across the Mediterranean – but also puzzling. Why, for example, are there dozens of deliberately wrecked warships? And why, and how, did the city itself disappear?


In the fading days of the pharaohs, Heracleion was the gateway to Egypt and a port beyond compare, but around 1,200 years ago a mysterious subsidence led to it being consumed by the Mediterranean. In 2000, archaeologists discovered the city's pristinely preserved remains 6km off the Egyptian coast and only 10 metres underwater. This documentary follows a team investigating the site, trying to find what caused this sacred city to plunge into the sea and why its inhabitants deliberately sank nearly 70 ancient warships. Presented by Lucy Blue.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Lucy Blue
Director Luke Wiles
Executive Producer Anne Laking
Documentary History