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ST. LOUIS – It`s the tale of two cities, sunken for centuries. Lost for more than 1,000 years to the world at large, until one day an exploration team found them.

“They were able to discover the two island Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus,” says Khaled El-Anany, Minister of Antiquities of the Arab Republic of Egypt.  “They were able to find these wonderful objects that you can see now.”

They sat off the Egyptian coast for a 1,000 years, covered by silt from the Nile.

“These cities Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus were settled in the Nile Delta on land that was unstable,” says Lisa Cakmak, Associate Curator Ancient Art St. Louis Art Museum.

“Those cities had been stricken by natural disaster,” says Franck Goddio, Archeologist.  “Earthquake which triggered tidal waves and the phenomena of land de-perfection.  And they disappeared in a fraction of a second.”

But 60 professionals, experts in their fields led by archeologists and engineers, starting in 1996, performed electronic surveys of the ocean floor.

Their discoveries of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus led to a better understanding of how the Greek and Egyptian civilizations lived together.

“Yeah so, this stuff has been underwater for millennia, for thousands of years,” says Cakmak.  “They must dig it out under feet and feet of dirt and clay and sand.”

Considered one of the greatest finds in underwater archeology, you`ll have to excuse the St. Louis Art Museum for their exuberance over this exhibit making its North American debut.

Some 293 objects on display from Sunken Cities; Egypt`s Lost Worlds will settle into their St. Louis home for the next six months.

Here visitors can get lost in all the finds from under the sea.