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Culture

THE MYSTERIES OF OSIRIS THROUGH EGYPT’S MARINE TREASURES

Zurich (Switzerland) / Isabel Saco // An exhibition at Rietberg Museum resurrects “Mysteries of Osiris”, one of the greatest founding myths of Egypt and marks the beginning of the kingdom of the pharaohs, through three hundred objects extracted from the Mediterranean in marine excavations.

Each of these pieces comes from the seabed, from the remains exhumed from the sea by archaeologists between the surviving structures of Canope and Thonis-Heracleion, on the Bay of Aboukir, a few kilometres east of Alexandria.

“These cities were left under water in the eighth century of our era, in an area of approximately 100 square kilometres which is believed to have recovered only 10% of what is possible to rescue,” curator of the exhibition, Axel Langer told EFE.

These cities, where sanctuaries and temples multiplied, were submerged by earthquakes and other geological incidents, and from there thousands of objects, statues and pieces have been recovered that attest to the religious importance of the place.

Forty artefacts from the Cairo and Alexandria museums accompany the pieces from the seabed (owned by the Egyptian State), which allow the spectator to complete the perspective on the legend of Osiris and several of which can be seen for the first time outside of Egypt.

The exhibition completes a series of photos and videos that show the challenge of digging up archaeological objects that lie under the sea and was taken over by the European Institute of Underwater Archaeology (IEAS).

The extracted parts require a special treatment to prevent their contact with oxygen, after more than a millennium in salt water, accelerate their erosion.

This data allows to appreciate in all its spectacular objects in perfect state of preservation, such as the Stela of Thonis-Heracleion, from 380 BC, containing the text of a decree of the Pharaoh Nectanebo I that regulates the part of the taxes to the merchandise that these entered the port and were to go to the temple.

The text could be preserved until today because the part that relates the religious contributions lay in the sand, Langer explained.

The remains also overcame the marine pollution caused by the circulation of ships and made difficult the marine excavation since, in certain seasons, the divers did not have a visibility greater than 50 or 60 centimetres in spite of being an area that is not very deep.

The curator of the exhibition, which will be open until August 13, explained that the technological needs that emerged from these submarine excavations led to the development of new instruments and devices that made possible the work in those difficult conditions.

The discovery was possible thanks to the collaboration established between the Egyptian Antiquities Ministry and the specialist in submarine archaeology, Franck Goddio, founder of IEAS.

It was Goddio who, in charge of an expedition, found in 1991 the remains of the Spanish galleon San Diego sunk off the coast of the Philippines in 1600, with an immense treasure that at present is exposed in naval museums in this country and in Spain.

The large-scale geophysical surveys carried out by Goddio to map the submerged Canopia region made it possible to delineate its contours, to identify the position of the main archaeological sites, as well as the layout of the ancient bed of the western arm of the Nile.

The first discovery in the second half of the nineties was the city of Thonis-Heracleion, in particular its port and temple, 7 kilometres from the coast; and then came the discovery of Canope, 2.5 kilometres away.

Since then, each year there are one to two archaeological campaigns of several weeks each.

At the end of each one, the remains are covered with sand to protect them from fishing activities, in the perspective that recovering all the sunken treasures constitutes a challenge of very long breath. (EFE / Practica Español, June 23, 2017)

Exercise of comprehension B.2

Lee la noticia y responde las preguntas. (Read the news and answer the questions)

Congratulations - you have completed Lee la noticia y responde las preguntas. (Read the news and answer the questions).

You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%.

Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%


Your answers are highlighted below.
Question 1
La noticia trata...
A
de una exhibición en un museo suizo sobre Egipto.
B
de una exposición sobre la influencia de Egipto en el mundo.
C
de una exhibición en un museo de Egipto sobre una antigua civilización.
Question 2
En el texto se dice que...
A
las piezas exhibidas fueron extraídas del fondo del mar.
B
la gran mayoría de las piezas exhibidas no fueron desenterradas ni extraídas del mar.
C
las piezas exhibidas no proceden del mar.
Question 3
Esas piezas estuvieron en el mar...
A
porque el barco que las transportaba se hundió hace mucho tiempo.
B
porque los habitantes de la zona las quisieron ocultar allí.
C
a causa de unas catástrofes naturales.
Question 4
La exposición se centra en...
A
los últimos faraones del Antiguo Egipto.
B
el origen mítico de la fundación de Egipto.
C
los trabajos que realizan los arqueólogos para encontrar tesoros en el fondo marino.
Question 5
La extracción de esas piezas no fue muy complicada para el equipo de arqueólogos.
A
No se sabe.
B
Falso.
C
Verdadero.
Question 6
En el texto se dice que...
A
el agua marina ayuda mucho a la conservación de las piezas extraídas del mar.
B
estas piezas no necesitan ningún tratamiento especial por haber estado en el mar.
C
estas piezas necesitan un tratamiento especial por haber estado mucho tiempo en el mar.
Once you are finished, click the button below. Any items you have not completed will be marked incorrect. Get Results
There are 6 questions to complete.

Exercise of vocabulary

Congratulations - you have completed .

You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%.

Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%


Your answers are highlighted below.
Question 1
En el texto, 'exhumar' significa...
A
excavar una tumba.
B
desenterrar a una persona.
C
desenterrar estatuas u otras piezas de valor arqueológico.
Question 2
La 'erosión'...
A
no causa la destrucción de una pieza.
B
ayuda a la conservación de una pieza arqueológica.
C
causa desgate en una superficie.
Question 3
Relacionas 'vestigios' con...
A
un tipo de escultura del Antiguo Egipto.
B
un tipo de embarcación.
C
las ruinas de una antigua civilización.
Once you are finished, click the button below. Any items you have not completed will be marked incorrect. Get Results
There are 3 questions to complete.

Review grammar: uses of 'cada', uses of 'ya que'


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