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Assess the contribution archaeological or written evidence have made to our understanding of the Harbour's significance in Alexandrian life and society.

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Introduction

Assess the contribution archaeological or written evidence have made to our understanding of the Harbour's significance in Alexandrian life and society. Archaeological excavations and written sources have provided a significant contribution to the understanding of the Harbour's impact within Alexandrian society. The ancient city of Alexandria quickly became a booming metropolis equal in size to such great cities as Rome and Athens. Perhaps the main stimulant of this intense and rapid growth was the Great Harbour that serviced the city. Archaeological excavations and written commentaries have indeed, aided in confirming the existence of Alexandria. The cosmopolitan seaport of Alexandria has accommodated two primary harbours since the 4th century AD, the Great Harbour (Megas Limin) and the Eunostos, of which the Western one was the chief commercial centre and the site of the customs house and numerous warehouses for cotton, grain, sugar and wool. 'The ports of Alexandria flourished during the Hellenistic, and the Roman periods up to the last decade of the 4th century ...read more.

Middle

He further describes the vast dynamics of the harbour complex: In the Great Harbour at the entrance, on the right hand, are the island and the tower Pharos, and on the other hand are the reefs...on sailing into the harbour one comes, on the left, to the inner royal palaces...below lies the artificially closed harbour that was dug by the hand of man and is hidden from view, the private property of the kings. Despite the magnificence and structural splendour of the harbour, natural (23 earthquakes since 320-1303 AD) and artificial (pollution) intrusions including piracy, were problematic. The Alexandrians 'were hostiles towards all who sailed to their shores, and particularly the Greeks, for they were pirates and desirous of foreign land through their own lack of it.'6 While, naturally, 'the built-up pseudo-coastal belt of the harbour area also (created) insoluble stratigraphical problems.'7 The harbour was also the home of the great Pharos, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and the Heptastadion. ...read more.

Conclusion

receivers in waterproof housings. This allowed the team to accurately map the floor of the harbor and obtain detailed pictures of the artifacts resting there. Goddio's team made several underwater molds for many of the finds and a few of the larger items were brought to the surface temporarily to facilitate production of a complete mold. Among the items the divers surfaced include dramatic stone statues, including sphinxes that portray significant Ptolemic rulers (including the likely Cleopatra's father), fragments of the Lighthouse, and earthen vessels. Archaeological excavations and written sources have indeed provided a significant contribution to the understanding of the harbour's role within Alexandrian society. Archaeological excavations lead by Goddio and the works of Strabo reveal, the vast harbour works of Alexandria were indeed 'the chief medium for international trade and communication.... (and) centres for the importation of goods, ideas and people as well as for the accumulation of wealth through exports.'10 Mirroring contemporaries Caesarea Maritima, Cosa and Pireaus, Alexandria's 'harbour was a port of importance and foundation of the city's wealth. ...read more.

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