The Birth of Submarine Archaeology in Egypt

A New Awareness
In 1962, Kamel Abu el-Saadat, the pioneer of underwater diving in Alexandria, convinced the Egyptian navy to raise a colossal statue of a queen portrayed as Isis from the monumental site lying six to eight metres deep at the foot of the Qaitbay Fort. On Kamel Abu's insistence, Egypt asked for an expert evaluation from UNESCO. In 1968, a preliminary study of the presumed submarine archaeological treasures of the port of Alexandria was carried out by the British archaeologist Honor Frost and by Kamel Abu el-Saadat.

The Actors Involved in the Research
Historically, the submarine domain has been under the control of the military. In the 1980s, the Ministry of Culture was consigned the responsibility for the submarine cultural archaeological heritage, thanks to the determination of Dr Ahmed Kadry, the then president of the Egyptian Council of Antiquities. Since then, the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, under the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, has supervised and carried out all archaeological work in Egypt. The foreign expeditions such as the French and Greek delegations in Alexandria and the American one at Saadana work under the control of and in close collaboration with this Council which in 1997 created a department for submarine archaeology.