The British Museum has discovered more than 10,000 ancient artefacts at the site of the ancient Egyptian trading city of Naukratis, The Guardian reported on Saturday. The findings of this excavation reveal a trading network akin to an international city dating back to the seventh century BC. British Museum curator Dr Ross Thomas, who led the project, said that Naukratis should now be viewed as “the Hong Kong of its era”.

Since the discovery of the precise location of the ancient city on the Nile delta in 1884, it was repeatedly excavated and thought to have been exhausted. However, this latest excavation revealed there is a lot more left to explore. “Previously, they thought it was only about 30 hectares and all destroyed. But now we know it’s over 60 hectares, so there’s a lot of archaeology there still to dig,” Dr Thomas said.

In Greek, Naukratis means “mistress of ships.” The city was a gateway for trade and cultural exchange between the people of Egypt and others of the Mediterranean. “We can now confirm for the first time that seagoing vessels travelled this far into Egypt,” Dr Thomas said, adding that the city had tall houses three- to six-storey-high, much like “a mud-brick Manhattan.”

The British Museum will feature Naukratis in its Sunken Cities exhibition next year.