Alexandria was one of the great cities of the Mediterranean. Since its foundation in 331 BC and for almost a millennium to follow, it was the political, economic and cultural capital of Egypt, and one of the most significant emporia and complex ports in the Hellenistic and Roman world.
Much of the city's wealth and prosperity were generated by trade through its important and complex harbour system, which included, not only harbours on the sea, but also on Lake Mareotis to the south and west of the city (Fig 1). Moreover, the shores of Lake Mareotis embraced major production centres for different industries such as glass, pottery and wine, which contributed significantly to the economy of Alexandria and of Egypt as a whole. To date however, Lake Mareotis has been a much-underrated resource particularly with respect to its economic relation to Graeco-Roman Alexandria. Moreover, many archaeological sites located along the shores are endangered by modern urban development and various industrial and agricultural activities. Therefore, since 2004 the Centre for Maritime Archaeology (CMA) of the University of Southampton, in collaboration with the Department of Underwater Antiquities (DUA) of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), has been conducting a comprehensive archaeological survey along the shores of Lake Mareotis west of Alexandria.