OK, it's not exactly hot off the press, but an article in the Journal of Roman Studies 94 (2004) 73 - 121, Reconstructing the Serapeum in Alexandria from Archaeological Evidence by Judith McKenzie et al, is certainly of interest to Alexandrian Library watchers.
As we know, the persistent story that Christians destroyed the Great Library of Alexandria comes from Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. He mistakenly assumed that there was a library in the Serapeum when it was destroyed by a Christian mob in 391AD. There was once a library there, but it had disappeared before the mob arrived, so it is not mentioned in any of the various accounts of the destruction.
The earliest mention of the Serapeum library is a comment by Tertullian in 197AD (chapter 18 of his Apology) that the copies of the Septuagint can be found there. It is often assumed that this library had been founded by Ptolemy II in the third century BC but this is not explicitly stated in any source until after 1000AD. So, what light can the archaeology of the Serapeum shed on the question?
The first point to note is that two temples were built on the site. The first was constructed by Ptolemy III and is securely dated to his reign by dedicatory inscriptions. This burnt down in 181AD in what seems to have been an accidental fire. The new Roman foundation was much larger and was complete by 217AD. To me, it looks likely that the library dates from this period and was a new addition to the rebuilt and expanded temple. We know from later literary sources that it was not housed in the inner temple, but in the colonnades that surrounded it.
Under the temple, passages have been found that contain niches. It has been romantically suggested that these niches might once have been used to store scrolls from the library, most recently by Richard Miles in his, otherwise excellent, TV show Ancient Worlds. In fact, these niches appear to be part of a mausoleum, perhaps for mummified animals. In other locations, similar niches have been found to contain animal bones.
Of the destruction of the Serapeum in 391AD, archaeology confirms that it was only the temple within the precinct that was razed. The great colonnade remained standing for another 700 years before it was dismantled by Saladin to prove masonry to defend the city from crusaders. Thus, while the archaeology does not tell us what actually happened to the library, it does nothing to contradict the conclusion that it was not destroyed in 391AD as Edward Gibbon had supposed.
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