The Catacombs




The Catacombs of Kom ash-Shuqqafa (meaning "Mound of Shards") is a historical archaeological site located in Alexandria, Egypt and is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages. Discovered accidentally in 1900 when a donkey disappeared through the ground, these catacombs are the largest known Roman burial site in Egypt. They consist of three tiers of tombs and chambers cut into bedrock to a depth of 35m, the third level being now completely underwater and inaccessible. Entry is through a spiral staircase leading off to several passages and chambers, the bodies of the dead would have been lowered on ropes down the centre of this circular shaft. When the catacombs were originally constructed in the 2nd century AD, they were probably as a family crypt. But over the 3 centuries that the tomb was in use, more chambers were hacked out until it had developed into a hive that could accommodate more than 300 corpses.