London: Scientists have recreated in 3D the legendary Egyptian city of Heracleion - which submerged nearly 1,200 years ago - to produce a picture of what the life was like in the era of the pharaohs.
Heracleion, a city of extraordinary wealth mentioned in Homer, visited by Helen of Troy, which apparently buried under the sea, was believed to be a legend for centuries.
More than a decade after uncovering its treasures, archaeologists have produced a picture of what life was like in the city in the era of the pharaohs, `The Telegraph` reported.
The city vanished beneath the Mediterranean around 1,200 years ago and was found during a survey of the Egyptian shore at the beginning of the last decade.
Now its life at the heart of trade routes in classical times are becoming clear, with researchers forming the view that the city was the main customs hub through which all trade from Greece and elsewhere in the Mediterranean entered Egypt.
They have discovered the remains of more than 64 ships buried in the thick clay and sand that now covers the sea bed. Gold coins and weights made from bronze and stone have also been found, hinting at the trade that went on.
Giant 16 foot statues have been uncovered and brought to the surface while archaeologists have found hundreds of smaller statues of minor gods on the sea floor.
Slabs of stone inscribed in both ancient Greek and Ancient Egyptian have also been brought to the surface.
"It is a major city we are excavating. The site has amazing preservation. We are now starting to look at some of the more interesting areas within it to try to understand life there," Dr Damian Robinson, director of the Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology at the University of Oxford, who is part of the team working on the site, said.
"We are getting a rich picture of things like the trade that was going on there and the nature of the maritime economy in the Egyptian late period. There were things were coming in from Greece and the Phoenicians," Robinson said.
The site sits submerged under 150 feet of water, in what is now the Bay of Aboukir. In the 8th Century BC, when the city is thought to have been built, it would have sat at the mouth of the River Nile delta as it opened up into the Mediterranean.