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In 2019, the Archaeological Society of Alexandria, sponsored by the A.G. Leventis Foundation, and under the concession by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities of Egypt, initiated a multifaceted project for the complete revisiting of Shatby Cemetery.

The project’s objectives included:

  • the cleaning, restoration and maintenance of the ancient remains

  • the consolidation of the archaeological investigation

  • the production of an up-to-date study

  • the protection of the underground structures from the invading water and soil

  • the upgrade of visitor’s experience in the site

During the investigation of 2020-2, the removal of an almost two-meters thick layer of rubble, mud and water allowed the mission of the Archaeological Society to consolidate the excavation of the site, reaching, for the first time, the original floor level of the underground structures. Results were admittedly fascinating, including the uncovering of previously unseen architectural features.  Also, skeletal remains, cinerary urns including several Hadra Hydriai (trademark for Alexandrian Necropolis) and plenty of local and imported pottery, in remarkable state, were among the more than 300 finds discovered all over the site.

The consolidation of the archaeological investigation revealed in full mode the state of emergency the site had reached after all these decades of deterioration, demanding immediate intervention.  Not only the underground structures had to remain clean, dry and accessible, but also the heavily weakened mother-rock had to be supported and weatherproofed (rain water would invade even from the roofs of the rock-cut structures). For this purpose, screen walls were built in key spots around the site providing the necessary isolation to the underground structures from future invasions of soil and dump. An all-new water-control system was designed for the site in order to prevent any future concentration of waters. A new suspended pavement was installed, not built, in the underground structures, allowing the water to pass under it through canals, towards the drainage system.

At long last, a total upgrade of visitor’s experience to the site took place, as promised by the Alexandrian Necropolis project. All modern structures were renovated and upgraded. Fences were restored. Newly designed lighting installations were set, for the first time also inside the burial chambers. A paved walkway for the visit’s circulation was constructed surrounding the site. New staircases were built for accessing Hypogeum A to its north-eastern side, next to a small auditorium for audience attending some simple shows. The Hellenistic cemetery of Shatby is also the first archaeological site in Alexandria to obtain its own Information Centre, providing data and multi-media to the visitors.

All archaeological, construction and restoration works are carried out according to permission and under the supervision of the Ministry of Antiquities (MOA), the legal custodian of the site. The Archaeological Society of Alexandria (ASA) coordinates with the MOA and liaise with any other Egyptian authorities as necessary.  The ASA keeps audit-ready financial records of the project, and is responsible for reporting.

The project is funded by the A.G. Leventis Foundation.

Digital Documentation and creation of the 3D model is carried out by the specialists of the Andreas Pitas Lab, Cyprus Institute.

The National & Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA) has joined the project within the frame of the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed between ASA and NKUA in 2021, in order to contribute to the excavation, recording and, mainly, the study of the Shatby Necropolis.