April 20, 2009—Cleopatra and Marc Anthony are likely buried together in one of three sites at an ancient temple, archaeologists announced in Egypt Sunday. Digging starts next week.
© 2009 National Geographic (AP)
Archaeologists are hoping to begin excavating three sites at a temple in Egypt soon in an attempt to find the final resting place of doomed lovers Cleopatra and Mark Antony. The temple is located near the northern coastal city of Alexandria and was built during the reign of King Ptolemy II.
Teams from Egypt and the Dominican Republic have been excavating the temple for the last three years. They found a number of deep shafts inside the temple, three of which were possibly used for burials.
SOUNDBITE: (English) Zahi Hawass, General Secretary, Supreme Council of Antiquities, Egypt: "We did a survey by radar for one month, and the radar showed three important anomalies. We hope that one of them could be the tomb of Cleopatra and Mark Antony."
Archaeologists last year unearthed the alabaster head of a Cleopatra statue, 22 coins bearing Cleopatra's image and a mask believed to belong to Mark Antony at the temple.
SOUNDBITE: (English) Zahi Hawass, General Secretary, Supreme Council of Antiquities, Egypt: "We believe that Cleopatra and Mark Antony were buried inside this temple. This temple is called Taposiris Magna. It is located 50 kilometers west of Alexandria and we think this is really a perfect place for Cleopatra and Mark Antony to be hidden in this place. We know from Plutarch they were buried together, and it took her permission to be buried in Alexandria."
Cleopatra and Mark Antony committed suicide after their defeat in the battle of Actium.
Some Egyptologists are skeptical that the two are buried here. John Baines of Oxford University questioned why Augustus, who defeated Antony, would have chosen such a distinguished burial place.