Alexandria will have a new accessible archaeological site, after the inauguration, on May 8, 2023, of the Hellenistic Necropolis of Shatby.
The event marks the successful completion of the Alexandrian Necropolis Project (2020-2023), a multidimensional archaeological project carried out by the Archaeological Society of Alexandria, under the direction of Dr. Mona Haggag (Professor of the University of Alexandria, President of Archaeological Society of Alexandria), Dr. Kyriakos Savvopoulos (Center for the Study of Ancient Documents, University of Oxford) and Professor Hussein Abd El Aziz, with the kind sponsorship of the A.G. Leventis Foundation. The Cyprus Institute (Andreas Pittas Digital Lab) participates in the program implementing the site’s digital mapping, and the University of Athens in research.
The necropolis of Shatby is Alexandria’s oldest surviving archaeological site (late 4th – 3rd century BC). It is an impressive complex once hosting the burials of individuals who came to populate Alexander the Great’s new city from Macedonia, Thessaly, Crete, and Asia Minor. It consists of a monumental subterranean multichambered complex known as Hypogeum A, two smaller corresponding complexes (Hypogea B and C), and an area covered with above-ground monuments in the form of stepped towers (once bases of funerary stelae, or altars over pit tombs).
The cemetery was located in the first decade of the 20th century, during the systematic excavations of Evaristo Breccia, director of the Greco-Roman Museum of Alexandria, but the excavation was not completed. After decades of abandonment, the Archaeological Society of Alexandria expedition resumed the excavation of Breccia as part of the Alexandria Necropolis Project. The excavations provided a complete picture of Hypogeum A, identifying among other things the monument’s ancient southern facade, anthropological material (skeletons), and objects in good condition. Among the abundant portable finds of the excavation are sculptures, coins, glass objects, and pottery, especially Hadra-type hydriae, a type characteristic of the Alexandrian necropolis. After three years of systematic work (excavation, restoration, digital documentation, enhancement) the Hellenistic necropolis of Shatby is now a modern archaeological park, unique of its kind in Egypt.
It is worth noting that from May 7 to 9, 2023, a conference on “Alexandria and Hellenism in Northern Egypt” is taking place in Alexandria, co-organized by the Archaeological Society of Alexandria, the Library of Alexandria, the Center for Alexandrian Studies, and the A.G. Leventis Foundation. The first day of the conference (May 7) is dedicated to the program of restoration, maintenance, and upgrading of the Hellenistic Necropolis of Shatby.
Click here for the conference program.