Excavation work at the site of Alexandria, Egypt, has revealed several important discoveries, including settlement remains and a well-preserved statue of Alexander the Great (356-323 BC).
An initial investigation within the al-Shabty suburbs of Alexandria revealed the presence of an ancient settlement believed to have been in use from the 2nd century BC to 4th century AD.
Excavations conducted over the course of nine months led to the discovery of a main road with branches of adjacent streets connected by a sewerage system, rock-cut wells, and a large network of tunnel tanks used for storing water ahead of the drier seasons.
Artefacts recovered include amphorae, pottery, amulets, nearly 700 ancient coins, and tools associated with industrial activities, such as fishing nets and loom weights.
According to a press release from the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, archaeologists also discovered moulds to cast statues of Alexander the Great, as well as small statues of legendary heroes and idols that, it is suggested, may have been used as warrior amulets.
However, the most exciting discovery was that of an intricately sculpted and well-preserved alabaster bust of Alexander the Great.
Ibrahim Mustafa, leader of the excavation, said the structural and artefactual remains indicate this settlement was likely a vibrant commercial hub of workshops and market stalls.
Dr Mustafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, added that the discovery offers new insight into the merchant activities that took place at the outer walls of the city, which was founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC, and became the most powerful capital in the Mediterranean after Ancient Rome.
The team are currently documenting the site using 3D photography, and will work to restore the fragmented statues.
Look out for Military History Matters' feature on Alexander the Great, out next week on The Past.