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The Wonder List With Bill Weir asks: Does Egypt’s lost city of Thonis-Heracleion offer lessons for future?

Thonis statue
Thonis was long thought to be a mystical city, but it was found and is now being explored

This week on The Wonder List With Bill Weir, a look at the sunken ancient Egyptian city of Thonis and whether its fate could be a lesson for the future.

Thonis, known as Heracleion by the Greeks, was a populous ancient Egyptian city built in the Nile Delta about 32 km of where Alexandria is located. The ruins of the city lie about 2.5 km off the current coast under a relatevly shallow 30 feet of water.

Paris of Troy is said to have brough Helen to the city and that Heracles himself had visited, giving it the name the Greeks used. Though until the ruins were found in 1999 archeologists and historians were unsure if Heracleion and Thonis were the same city.

Coins found in Thonis
Coins found in Thonis

The city was also a huge center for trade and commerce, becoming the main trading city of Egypt in its latter days.

It’s thought that the city went beneath the waves in the 2nd or 3rd century AD after earth tremors caused liquifaction of the ground on which the many stilts that supported the city were embedded.

Marine archaeologist Franck Goddio
Marine archaeologist Franck Goddio rediscovered the city in 1999

Bill Weir looks at the many discoveries that have been and are still being made at the site and asks whether some modern coastal cities under threat could learn lessons from this long lost city.

The Wonder List With Bill Weir airs on Saturdays at 9:00 PM on CNN.

James has worked for Monsters and Critics since it started back in 2003. He oversees the business and technical side of things. You can contact... read more
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