Where is Cleopatra’s Tomb?

Where is Cleopatra’s Tomb?

The tomb of Egypt’s last queen, Cleopatra, which has been missing for more than 2,000 years, has long been a source of interest for archaeologists and the public. While media reports suggest that the great discovery is imminent, experts say the likelihood of Cleopatra’s tomb being found is rather low.

Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra. A: Getty
Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra. A: Getty

Cleopatra, the lover of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, killed herself in 30 BC after losing at the end of the war and being captured by Roman Emperor Octavian. According to the claims of ancient writers, this suicide occurred with the bite of a venomous cobra snake and he was buried with Antony in a mausoleum.

Some media reports suggest that archaeologists are on the verge of discovering this tomb at the site called “Taposiris Magna”, about 50km west of Alexandria. The team has been excavating the site under the leadership of Kathleen Martinez for the past 15 years, and so far they have found a burial of coins minted during the reign of this queen and remains dating to her time.

(Who Was Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt?)

But many scholars who are experts on Cleopatra say it is unlikely that she was buried at Taposiris Magna, and they believe the tomb is now in a submerged site in Alexandria.

Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s former minister of antiquities, stated that he and Martinez worked in the area for more than 10 years and said, “There is no evidence that Cleopatra’s tomb could be in Taposiris Magna, or that she and Antony were buried there.” says.

Archaeologists say there is no evidence that Cleopatra was buried in the Ptolemaic remains found at Taposiris Magna in Alexandria, Egypt. A: agephotostock/Alamy
Also, “I think that Cleopatra was buried in her tomb that she had built next to her palace, and this place is now underwater, so her tomb will never be found.” he adds.

Erosion of the coast over the past 2,000 years has left parts of Alexandria, including Cleopatra’s palace, now submerged. Scholars say that if the tomb is not underwater, it was most likely destroyed during an Ancient period or buried under modern urban development in Alexandria. Numerous scholars also suggest that the tomb may have been robbed in ancient times. Although projects in the past have reviewed Cleopatra’s palace, there are currently no projects looking for this tomb underwater.

Robert Gurval, Professor of Classical Art at the University of California, who has extensively researched Cleopatra, said: “This tomb would be an interesting structure if it could withstand millennia of cultural change and natural destruction; also, even if it was untouched by human hands, earthquakes and sea water would have caused him to be submerged in the ground or under water.”

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Ptolemaic Rulers

Cleopatra was the last of the monarchs to descend from Ptolemy I Soter, one of Alexander the Great’s generals. Alexander the Great died in Babylon; but he was buried again in Alexandria. Ancient writers often mention Alexander’s tomb, but archaeologists have not found Alexander’s tomb or the tomb of any of the Ptolemaic kings.

“The thing is, we don’t know where the tombs of Alexander and the 15 other Ptolemaic kings of Egypt are located,” said Susan Walker of the University of Oxford. says.

Also, Walker speculates that Cleopatra’s tomb was located close to other kings from the Ptolemaic dynasty, and “if tombs of Cleopatra and other Ptolemaic kings were built in Alexandria, they are now probably buried under water or modern city development.” he adds.

This 1894 engraving shows Augustus Caesar and Cleopatra killing herself with a snake in her hand. A: Getty
This 1894 engraving shows Augustus Caesar and Cleopatra killing herself with a snake in her hand. A: Getty

Taposiris Magna

“Martinez thought Cleopatra might have been buried at Taposiris Magna,” said Glenn Godenho, a lecturer in Egyptology at the University of Liverpool. Because Cleopatra was identified with the goddess Isis, who was both the sister and wife of Osiris, the god of the dead.” says.

Godenho says that Kathleen, based on the work of a research team here, determined the existence of a Temple of Isis inside the large Temple of Osiris that overlooked the site, as well as a coin burial with a portrait of Cleopatra and other Greco-Roman finds. We can definitely say that Magna was active during the reign of Cleopatra.” he adds.

After more than 10 years of work at Taposiris Magna, Cleopatra’s tomb has not been found, and many scholars doubt that it is there. “Kathleen’s work has been done for years with the belief that it will be discovered within the walls, both for the Temple of Osiris and next to the goddess of Cleopatra’s tomb. But its negative outcome has created a vacuum so far in trying to find Cleopatra’s tomb.” says.

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Another problem is that the tomb at Taposiris Magna appears to belong to religious figures rather than royalty. “My understanding is that the mummies found there are more likely to be high-status priests than royalty,” Walker said. says.

In addition, many scholars state that according to historical texts, Cleopatra’s mausoleum is located in Alexandria, while Taposiris Magna is 50 km from the city.

These days, Martinez’s team is excavating a necropolis located here. “It is quite normal for the Egyptians to want to be buried next to their influential leader,” Godenho said. Based on this situation, Kathleen made some remarkable discoveries in this prominent neighborhood, as well as a mummy that was once covered with gold leaf. As a result, suggesting that people in the region gathered around Cleopatra’s tomb is a difficult claim to make.” says.

While the evidence that Cleopatra was buried at Taposiris Magna is weak, that doesn’t rule out the importance of the site.

Godenho said, “It is worth noting that there are other elements in this region besides Cleopatra. The archaeological work here is prepared to help us further understand the role of this queen in trade between the Mediterranean and African worlds, religious activities, afterlife beliefs, social structures and populations in the region. It is also a question to be asked how old the use of this region is. That’s why we need to look at the situation from a broader perspective to find the answer to all of these.” says.

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