“Egypt’s Lost Cities” Exhibition at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley October 5, 2019 through April 12, 2020

The crew of IEASM is assembled to watch the colossal bust of god Hapy being raised, strapped with webbings, for the first time in more than 2000 years out of the waters of Aboukir bay, Egypt.  Photo: Christoph Gerigk © Franck Goddio / Hilti Foundation

The crew of IEASM is assembled to watch the colossal bust of god Hapy being raised, strapped with webbings, for the first time in more than 2000 years out of the waters of Aboukir bay, Egypt.

Photo: Christoph Gerigk © Franck Goddio / Hilti Foundation

Time may have eroded the memory of a civilization but not the mystery of what was. Long ago, two bustling cities in ancient Egypt were known throughout the world as cultural centers of power, of wealth, of trade, and novel artistry. One day as the Mediterranean sun beat down on the bay of Aboukir, the cities slipped into the sea without a whisper of wind, buried for centuries. Determined to recover the cities that vanished, Franck Goddio, an economist by trade and underwater archaeologist at heart, delivered the discovery of a millennium, for he located not a shipwreck, but an entire civilization. This remarkable story will be told at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum’s Egypt’s Lost Cities exhibition.

“Egypt’s Lost Cities brings back to life two cities that time forgot,” said John Heubusch, executive director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute. “We’re privileged to bring this rich story of ancient cities from the time of ancient Pharaohs and Alexander the Great -- both lost at sea -- to the Reagan Library. It’s a find as magnificent as Atlantis, something you just have to see to believe.”

Opening on October 5, 2019 and running through April 12, 2020, Egypt’s Lost Cities showcases more than 250 of these authentic artifacts, including three colossal 16-foot sculptures of an Egyptian pharaoh, a queen, and a god. The Reagan Library will also display The Stele de Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II, an 18-ton monolith, the first time this artifact has ever been on display in the United States.

Additional highlights of the exhibition include:

  • Precious gold coins and jewelry

  • Bronze vessels

  • Objects inscribed in the ancient Egyptian or Greek languages

  • Statues from the sunken and forgotten ancient cities of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus, including the statue of the god Hapi. Made of red granite, the statue is 18 feet tall and weighs 8 tons. It is the biggest statue of a god ever discovered in Egypt.

“Visitors will be able to see artifacts which have never seen before,” said Franck Goddio, curator and underwater archaeologist who discovered the two lost cities. “This exhibition shows the result of 22 years of work on those two sunken cities. For me and my team it is extremely gratifying to know that this superb exhibit has been chosen to appear at the Ronald Reagan Library.”

An archaeologist checks the stele of Thonis-Heracleion raised under water on site in the city of Heracleion. Thonis-Heracleion, Aboukir Bay, Egypt (SCA 277), National Museum, Alexandria - IEASM Excavations.  Photo: Christoph Gerigk © Franck Goddio / Hilti Foundation

An archaeologist checks the stele of Thonis-Heracleion raised under water on site in the city of Heracleion. Thonis-Heracleion, Aboukir Bay, Egypt (SCA 277), National Museum, Alexandria - IEASM Excavations.

Photo: Christoph Gerigk © Franck Goddio / Hilti Foundation

To help tell the story of these ancient lost cities, these artifacts will be seen alongside ancient Egyptian artifacts from museums in Cairo and Alexandria. This not-to-be-missed exhibition is ideal for the entire family. For more information and to pre-purchase tickets, please visit www.reaganlibrary.com/lostcities.

This exhibition was organized with the Institut Européen d’Archéologie Sous-Marine with the generous support of the Hilti Foundation and in collaboration with the Ministry of Antiquities of the Arab Republic of Egypt. It is underwritten in part through the generosity of the Salem Media Group, in conjunction with AM870 The Answer Los Angeles and 99.5 KKLA FM Los Angeles.

The Reagan Library is located at 40 Presidential Drive in Simi Valley. Public hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The Museum is closed only on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Day. For Museum admission fees, visit www.reaganlibrary.com. As large crowds are expected to view the exhibition, pre-purchased timed-entry tickets are recommended by visiting www.reaganlibrary.com/tickets. For more information, call (800) 410.8354 or visit www.reaganlibrary.com/lostcities.