She is a queen of legend, and the last pharoh of Egypt. Her name is Cleopatra VII Philopater, and despite a lifetime of fame her final resting place has been a mystery, but maybe not for too much longer.
Ash and Katy, hosts of Always the Last to Know, share the latest report on the hunt for her lost tomb. According to Katy, archeologist Kathleen Martinez of the University of Santo Domingo believes to have located the long-lost tomb of the famous queen at Taposiris Magna, a temple that was believed to have been built in honor of the Osiris, the god of death.
“(Martinez) said that Cleopatra believed that she was the goddess Isis and behaved her entire life like she was,” said Katy. “Her goal was to go to Taposiris and prove that this certain location there was not just to Osiris, but a temple dedicated to Isis. A temple dedicated to Isis located so close to Alexandria would be the perfect resting place for someone who is considered to be the living incarnation of a goddess.”
Archeologists and historians alike have long searched for the queen’s lost tomb but have never uncovered where it might be or where it might have been. One of the few clues to Cleopatra’s whereabouts come from the Greek Philosopher Plutarch who wrote about the queen 200 years after her death.
“He said that Cleopatra’s tomb was in a beautiful city with lots of buildings around it,” said Katy.
It’s not a lot to go off of, but since there are no surviving accounts from the time of Cleopatra’s death detailing where she was buried, it's what archeologists have to piece together the mystery. Martinez has spent more than a decade studying Cleopatra's life and comparing Plutarch's account with the other clues that survived the centuries.
For example, as mentioned before, Cleopatra considered herself the living incarnation of the goddess Isis and made the city of Alexandria her second home. So, when Martinez found a carving in Taposiris Magna dedicating the temple to the goddess Isis, she knew she was getting close.
“They find the altar where offerings were made, and they discover two hundred coins made of bronze. One side Cleopatra’s name in Greek, the other her face. They were the very coins made exactly to Cleopatra’s depiction,” said Katy. “They found underground tunnels that they think will lead to Cleopatra’s tomb.”
The tunnels are 43 feet underground and almost a mile long. The tunnel stretches towards the Mediterranean Sea and parts have been submerged, leading Martinez and her team to take to submarine to continue searching for the tomb of Cleopatra.
Listen to “Cleopatra's (Maybe No Longer) Lost Tomb” to hear the full description of the Egyptian queen and check out the full episode catalog of Always the Last to Know on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you listen to podcasts.
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