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Kathleen Martinez’s Quest to Find Cleopatra’s Tomb


Amateur archaeological sleuth Kathleen Martinez’s quest to find Cleopatra’s tomb took her to a temple complex known as Taposiris Magna, which is located 25 miles west of Alexandria, Egypt. Could it be the site of Cleopatra’s lost tomb?


I don't think 100% as an archaeologist, because my first training is as a criminal lawyer, so I took Cleopatra as a case.

Kathleen's obsession with the last queen of Egypt began when she read Shakespeare's play Antony and Cleopatra. She believes there's much more to the queen's life and death than the legend suggests...and she believes she knows where Cleopatra's tomb lies hidden.

Kathleen's quest took her to Alexandria in north Egypt...... It's here in Cleopatra's capital city that most archaeologists believe the queen was buried.

But more than 1,000 years ago, the ancient city was hit by a tidal wave and lost beneath the water. The experts believe, so too was the tomb of Cleopatra.

But Kathleen has other ideas.

She doesn't believe the queen was buried in the city at all.

Defeated by the Romans at the battle of Actium, Cleopatra famously committed suicide.

Kathleen has a theory that the queen planned for her body to be taken out of Alexandria, and buried in a sacred temple.

When I study carefully the last days of Cleopatra, I realized it was the beginning of a religious act that ended up with her being buried in a temple...and her lost tomb could be found there.

Studying ancient Roman texts, Kathleen investigated 21 temple sites where Cleopatra could be buried. But only one fit with her theory. 25 miles west of Alexandria lies a ruined temple complex known as Taposiris Magna.

Kathleen suspects this ancient pile of rubble dates from the time of Cleopatra's royal line.

Even though the site is in ruins, its sheer scale and its proximity to Cleopatra's capital city suggests to Kathleen that the queen chose this site to be her final resting place.

But over the last century, several archaeological teams have searched here and found very little.

This is not a site that would have peaked the interest of the archaeological community particularly, it didn't present any features which captured anybody's imagination.

But could Kathleen's hunch be true? Could this be the site of Cleopatra's lost tomb?


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