Macedonian Tomb at Amphipolis

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NEW! Archaeological News

 

Enormous ancient Macedonian tomb discovered in Amphipolis, Macedonia
 

A drawing of how the tomb looks like as the archeologists progress

 

 

Amphipolis was one of the most important ancient Macedonian cities.  It was conquered by Philip of Macedon, Alexander the Great's father and has since served as an economical center of eastern Macedonia.  In 1913, when Macedonia was partitioned by Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia, this location feel under Greek occupation.

 

101 years later, it is here that the Greek archeologists entered a newly discovered ancient Macedonian tomb for a first time.  Contrary to the many headlines circulating in the news, this is NOT a "Greek tomb", it is an ancient Macedonian Tomb.  It was a burial place for Macedonians, not Greeks.  The ancient Greeks did not have such burial customs, they did not build elaborate multi-chambered large structures in which they buried their dead.   The ancient Macedonians, Thracians, and Etruscans are the only peoples that had such burial customs, making them unique in European history.  But it is the Macedonians alone who created the most beautiful of these tombs, which had been correctly distinguished by specialists and scholars on ancient Macedonian history not as "Greek", but as "Macedonian Tombs".

 

We are updating the story as it develops with the latest.

 

 

 

January 19, 2015 - Bones of at least five individuals had been discovered so far in an underground burial chamber of the Macedonian Tomb at Amphipolis

 

Human bone remains of at least five individuals, including an elderly woman and a child, had been found inside the Macedonian Tomb at Amphipolis.  Further tests are being done to see if they were related.  The the remains belonged to

  • a woman in her 60s who suffered from osteoporosis and was about 1.57m (5ft 1in) tall
  • a newborn child of unspecified sex
  • two men aged between 35 and 45, the youngest of whom died of a stab wound, and between 1.62m and 1.68m
  • and a fourth adult whose corpse - unlike the others - had been cremated.

A sketch of a female human skeleton labeled with remains that were discovered at a site

 

Sketch of the underground burial chamber

 

The tomb was found to contain more than 550 bone fragments, of which 157 have so far been matched to the five individuals. A number of animal bones had also been discovered inside.

“The condition in which the bones were found indicates that they had been disturbed,” the statement said.

Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at University of Crete Petros Themelis said that the burial site was “in disarray.” Analysis, Themelis said, should focus on the cremated remains which, he deems, most likely belonged to the earliest occupant of the tomb.

 

 

October 22, 2014 - The missing head of the entry sphinx is discovered

 

The missing head of the Sphinx “guarding” the tomb’s entrance was finally discovered inside the third chamber.

The Sphinx’s head is intact, with minimal breakage on the nose. It has a height of 0.60m and it is assigned to the body of the eastern Sphinx. Made of marble, the head has signs of red color on its curly hair (falling onto its left shoulder) that is tied with a white stripe. It carries a pole.  The head was found in a depth of 15cm inside a marble threshold. In addition, fragments of the Sphinx’s wings were discovered in the same chamber.

        

 

 

 

 

October 17, 2014 - Imposing Ancient Macedonian Mosaic is fully revealed

 

 

 

 

October 12, 2014 - Partial Imposing Ancient Macedonian Mosaic is revealed

 

An imposing ancient Macedonia mosaic has been uncovered, of a bearded man driving a chariot with Hermes, the messenger of the gods guiding his chariot. The mosaic is 14.8 x 9.8 feet (4.5 x 3 meters) and is yet to be  completely uncovered.  Tiny pieces of white, black, blue, red, yellow and grey create a picture of a chariot drawn by two white horses, driven by a bearded man wearing a crown of laurel leaves. The mosaic, measuring three metres by 4.5 metres wide, depicts a  driving a chariot and two horses after Hermes, the Greek god of travel and guide to the underworld. Hermes is depicted in a Macedonian fashion, wearing the Macedonian hat kausia and a Macedonian military cloak and carrying his caduceus, or staff. A circular part near the centre of the mosaic is missing, but authorities say enough fragments have been found nearby to reconstruct a large part.

Contrary to the many rumors circulating that Olympias, the mother of Alexander, was buried in this tomb, propagated by several English writers and Greek archeologists we still believe that the tomb belongs to a man, not a royalty but a high ranking Macedonian figure. 

  

 

 

 

September 8, 2014 - Two Catyatid Sculptures are revealed

 

Archeologists have unearthed two sculpted marble female Caryatids, as they make their way into the tomb. The figures were unearthed on Saturday (September 6), the ministry said in a statement, but they were announced to the press 2 days later.

The Caryatids, with thick curls covering their shoulders, support an inner entrance into the tomb and feature the same sculpting technique used for the heads and wings of two sphinxes found guarding the main entrance of the tomb in August, according to the statement. The face of one of the Caryatids is missing, while both figures have one hand outstretched in a symbolic move to push away anyone who would try to violate the tomb.

     

 

 

August 14, 2014 - Announcement

 

 

Amphipolis was one of the most important ancient Macedonian cities.  It was conquered by Philip of Macedon, Alexander the Great's father and has since served as an economical center of eastern Macedonia.  In 1913, when Macedonia was partitioned by Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia, this location feel under Greek occupation.

 

Contrary to the many headlines circulating in the news, this is NOT a "Greek tomb", but an ancient Macedonian tomb.  Inside was clearly buried a notable Macedonian figure, judging by the enormous size of the building.

 

For more information on this important discovery please visit these links:

 

‘Exceptionally important’ Greek tomb from era of Alexander the Great discovered

 

Amphipolis Greek Tomb Discovery in Pictures: Could Alexander the Great Be Buried Here?

 

Our opinion is that Alexander the Great is NOT buried at the massive Macedonian tomb the archaeologists have been digging over the last 2 years at Amphipolis, despite suggestions of some. It is known that his body was laid to rest in Egypt, first in Memphis and then in Alexandria. It was still there on display for centuries since the Macedonians had conquered the Persian Empire. Many Roman emperors, beginning with Augustus Octavian visited his burial chamber at Alexandria centuries later. Thus Alexander was not, and could not, have been buried in the Amphipolis tomb.

 

Workers are using crane to remove large stone blocks from a wall originally sealing the entrance of the tomb
 

 

An inner marble wall is seen inside the antechamber of a large tomb

 

 

Front paw of a large stone sphinx is seen topping the entrance

 

 

Painted decoration

 

 

The question remains, just WHO was buried here? It is clear from the enormous size of the tomb that it was a high ranking Macedonian, perhaps even a royalty as suggested by some of the Greek archeologists. However, since royalty was buried at Pella, the ancient capital of Macedonia, it leaves strong possibility that the person buried here was a high ranking Macedonian general OR admiral. Is it admiral Cleitus who destroyed the Greek fleet at sea? Or general Craterus? Leonnatus? Anitipater, Neoptolemus? Leosthenes, Polyperchon? Sosthenes?  Or other lesser know Macedonian commanders? 

 

We will be updating the story as it develops.

 

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