Leuce Acte (Arabic ليوكيسس) is the name that was given to the city known nowadays El-Alamein (Arabic العلمين) during the Hellenistic and Greco-Roman periods. A city, port and cemetery that part of it had been accidentally discovery in 1986 while digging to build the new Marina El-Alamein resort. It had been named by the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) “The Archaeological Area of Marina El-Alamein” or “Marina El-Alamein Monuments”. The city name “Leuce Acte” means the white shell in Greece language (Arabic الصدفة البيضاء) and it comes from the shape that this area looked like from the sea, as from the sea the city had the shape of a shell and because of its white sand it looked like a white shell.
Sources say that the region had previously a port for exporting of cereals and grains, especially wheat that comes from the territory starts from Paraetonium at the west (currently known as Matruh Governorate) to Alexandria at the east. It is known that during the Roman Empire times, Egypt and especially this area was the Empire farm which served most of its Mediterranean parts. The city was built during the Ptolemaic time and continued growing during the Roman and Byzantine eras and this can be realized from the differences in the buildings architecture that varies from the Greece to the roman architecture.
Not so far from El-Alamein city, around 4 km away from the city and to the right side of Alexandria-Marsa Matruh road in the direction to Matruh at the distance exactly between 98.5 km to 100.2 km away from Alexandria located the Marina El-Alamein monuments site.
Discovered in this region a city from the Greco-Roman period, some ancient architectural buildings as a distinguished example of the art of architecture during the Roman era in Egypt and the main divisions are:
- A temple for the ancient Egyptian god Horus.
- A large number of houses and villas of different sizes and architectural styles.
- A huge commercial market that is divided into several sections.
- A large cemetery containing around 17 tombs carved in the mountain region bordering the Sea coast.
Description of the area:
The discovered area is in a polygon shape and in some how looks like a rectangle. The long side is parallel to the main Alexandria-Matruh road with distance of 1700 meter and its depth varies between 300 and 700 meters from the road to the sea (see the map).
A kilometer from the east border of the site is the entrance of the area and around 50 meters away from the entrance gate there are the offices for the SCA employees and the tourism officers which in the future will be the main entrance for the area.
East north to this building and so close to the sea coast is another building which is used those days as a store for the monuments been discovered in the area. In the future it will be renovated to be the interior showroom for the museum which will contain the collected monuments from the area while the whole outside area will be the exterior open area of the museum.
Not so far from the interior museum to the east of it a huge market “souk” that served the old city.
To the south east of the market stands a group of villas for the reach people lived during this old period and not so far of it some other houses.
To the south west a little bit far from this compound of villas lies an intermediate size temple for Horus the Ancient Egyptian sky god.
Finally and to the very south of the town lies the ceremony area, the reason that it was located very south is for the polluted air not to blow over the city as normally air currents blows from the sea to the desert.
Future plans: Renovating the area to be an open museum
For the past years since the discovery of Leuce Acte city in 1986 there was cooperative work between the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) with the Polish Center of Mediterranean Archaeology (PCMA) as there were two projects started one carried out by the polish archaeological expedition for excavating the area and discovering the under sand monuments and the other project is the Polish-Egyptian restoration project with its main mission to reconstruct and erect the ruined monuments peaces using a methodology called Anastylosis.
During the last couple of years and under the umbrella of the SCA conjointly with the PCMA and the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) another project had been started to develop the archaeological area of Martina El-Alamein and convert it to an open museum that can be visited all the time during the day. This project is carried out in parallel with the two other projects taking place in the area.
The project had been started 2003 by building a one floor interior area museum on 800 square meters. It will display 500 pieces from all the archaeological areas discovered form Alexandria to Matruh and placed according to the historic sequence since the Ptolemaic era which began 332 BC until the Greco-Roman era which began the end of the fourth century AD and lasted several centuries.
The museum will highlight the aspects of daily life, religious and cultural rights of the inhabitants of this region through the ages, it also will show the features of economic and commercial activity through presenting of relics discovered there, most notably a group of gold and bronze currencies, statues, pottery vessels, amphorae and remnants of ancient architectural buildings.
The project also plans to light the outside area of the museum at night, remove debris dumps, landscape the area and prepares a specific course for the visit begins from the Museum passing by the old residential area, the market area, the temple and ends with the graves.