Scientists Find Tunnel to Another World, Uncover Cleopatra's Tomb

Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – The discovery of a spectacular tunnel in a temple in the ruins of the ancient city of Taposiris Magna sheds light on the mission to search for Cleopatra's tomb.

According to historical records, Cleopatra was buried side by side with the Roman general Mark Antony, who was none other than her husband. However, until now archaeologists are still continuing to research and look for strong evidence.

Cleopatra was the Queen of Ancient Egypt who was often nicknamed the 'Female Pharaoh'. A team of archaeologists led by Kathleen Martinez from the University of San Domingo has been searching for Cleopatra's tomb for approximately 20 years.

During the search, Martinez and his team found a 1,305 meter long tunnel located 13 meters underground. Egypt's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities called the discovery of the ancient tunnel a 'miracle'.

Taposiris Magna was founded around 280 BC by Ptolemy II, son of the famous general Alexander the Great and one of Cleopatra's ancestors. The temple, according to a team of archaeologists, was dedicated to the god Osiris and his queen, the goddess Isis.

Both are believed to be close to Cleopatra. Coins bearing the names and likenesses of Cleopatra and Alexander the Great have been found in the tunnel. Likewise with the statue of Isis.

This tunnel was carved out of Egyptian bedrock. Burial pits containing Greco-Roman burials have also been discovered at the temple. It is possible that Cleopatra and her husband Mark Antony may have been interred in the same tomb.

Photo: Getty Images/Silver Screen Collection
British-born American actress Elizabeth Taylor (1932 – 2011) winning in the title role of 'Cleopatra', directed by Joseph L Mankiewicz, 1963. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

Future research may yield more information about whether the tunnels could lead to long-lost tombs.

The next stage is to explore the nearby Mediterranean sea. Between 320 and 1303 AD, a series of earthquakes struck the area. As a result, part of the temple collapsed and was swallowed by the waves.

Marble heads were also found at the temple site. Regardless of whether the tomb is found or not, a thorough excavation of the ruins could tell us more about the mysterious ancient city.

So far, several treasures have been found in the tunnel. These include pottery shards and rectangular limestone blocks.

According to historical stories, when Mark Antony died in her arms in 30 BC, Cleopatra immediately committed suicide. It is believed that the woman deliberately let the poisonous snake bite her.

The moment of death has been immortalized in art and literature. But more than two millennia later, little is known about where his remains are.

A series of clues leads Martinez to believe that Cleopatra's tomb may be located in the Temple of Osiris in the ruined city of Taposiris Magna, on Egypt's northern coast, where the Nile River meets the Mediterranean Sea.

According to Martinez, Cleopatra in her time was considered the human incarnation of the goddess Isis. Then, Antony was considered the god Orisis, husband of Isis.

Martinez believes Cleopatra may have chosen to bury her husband in the temple to obscure this myth. Of the 20 temples around Alexandria that he has studied, Martinez says no other place, structure or temple combines so many conditions as the temple of Taposiris Magna.

In 2004, Martinez took his theory to Zahi Hawass, an Egyptian archaeologist who was then Egypt's minister of antiquities. And after years of searching, Martinez feels he is getting closer to Cleopatra's tomb.

Excavations so far have revealed that the temple was dedicated to Isis which Martinez says is another sign that a lost tomb lay nearby as well as an underwater tunnel.

According to a statement issued by Egypt's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the country's coastline has been hit by earthquakes for centuries. The natural disaster caused part of Magna Taposiris to collapse and sink beneath the waves.

This is where Martinez and his team looked further. Although it's still too early to know where this tunnel will lead.

“If this tunnel really leads to Queen Cleopatra's tomb, it would be the most important discovery of this century,” he said.

[Gambas:Video CNBC]