That led me to look for reviews of Sunken Cities before I booked a coach ticket. The only one I got as far as reading was the Guardian's - they hated it, but it was one of those reviews that was so sneering and mean-spirited that it just made me want to go. At one point the reviewer admitted that they hate Egyptian and Hellenistic culture. So why would you even - oh, never mind.
As it happens, this is the first time I've been impressed with what they've done with the exhibition space. It's quite dark, the walls are all painted dark blue. (But not so dark that I had trouble seeing everything, and I have fairly extreme difficulty getting enough light to see things properly on a good day, so clearly they know what they're doing).
The exhibition showcases finds from two "lost" cities of the Nile delta, Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus, which were founded in the 7th century BC and gradually sank as the channels of the Nile changed, were subject to earthquakes, etc, but are believed to have been inhabited as late as the 7th century AD.
There are lots of large monumental scuptures as well as the largest collection of ritual items ever found. (In other places the metal would have been melted down for repurposing as they became obsolete). Many of these are shown alongside videos of the archaeologists uncovering them. This is something else the Guardian reviewer hated but I personally get excited watching underwater archaeology at work.
Then the exhibition takes a turn into telling the story of the Osiris myth. I thought it was a bit of a non-sequitur but, like any good geek, I *love* that myth, and there were a number of excellent statues that normally live in Egypt, including several that I've seen in textbooks so it was fantastic to see the real thing.
The reason for telling this story becomes apparent when you turn another corner and the exhibiton takes you through the ritual that was done surrounding the Osiris myth every year. We know about it from various sources but in Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus they have found physical evidence for the ritual. So that was pretty exciting too.
There was a bit of a crush at the beginning of the exhibition but as I went on it was still busy but far less crowded, which made for a nice change.
I was going to buy the book as it's very nice indeed but I'm aware that I've been haemorrhaging money lately so I declined. I can always order it later.
Definitely recommended, but it's only on for another week.