Archaeologists excavating the underwater metropolis of Thônis-Heracleion in Egypt’s harbor of Abū Qīr ᴜпeагtһed wicker fruit baskets dating from the fourth century B.C.E.
A fragment of one of the fruit baskets brought to the surface by the French underwater archaeology team at Thonis-Heracleion. © Hilti Foundation
Surprisingly, the jars still contain doum nuts and grape seeds, the fruit of an African palm tree deemed sacred by the ancient Egyptians.
“Nothing was disturbed,” marine archaeologist Franck Goddio tells Dalya Alberge of the Guardian. “It was very ѕtгіkіпɡ to see baskets of fruits.”
Goddio and his colleagues at the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology (IEASM) uncovered the containers in collaboration with Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. Researchers have been surveying the ancient Mediterranean port city of Thônis-Heracleion since its rediscovery in 2001, according to Egypt Independent.
The baskets were stored in an underground room and may have been funerary offerings, reports the Greek City Times. Nearby, the researchers found a 197- by 26-foot tumulus or Ьᴜгіаɩ mound, and an extravagant array of Greek funerary goods likely left by merchants and mercenaries living in the area.