Have Archaeologists Discovered the Tomb of the Wife and Son of Alexander the Great?Greece TRAVEL
The missing head of the one of the two sphinxes was found months later on the third chamber. The 60cm head is largely intact and has slight damage on the nose. Archaeologists also found fragments of that sphinx’s wings at the same chamber.
According to the study curried out by the architect Michael Lefantzis, the Lion of Amphipolis (sacred symbol of Macedonians) that had been excavated in 1934 by French archaeologists most likely stood at the top of the funeral mound. Legend says its sculptor (whose identity is unknown), after finishing his work, which was also the peak of his career, realized that the Lion missed its tongue. In desperation, the sculptor threw the Lion into the Strymonas river, so that no one would see it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lX0U1ZGsZxA Since the day I have published the post, there have been more announcements. Now the archaeologists claim it’s probably the tomb of an important General or of Alexander’s admiral, Nearchos, who was a citizen of Amphipolis. Some others claim it’s the tomb of Olympias, Alexander’s mother. I have also read that the tomb of the son of Alexander the Great, Alexander IV, had already been discovered in 1977 in Vergina together with the tomb of Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great. There are fears that the tomb may have been looted. This is evidenced by the headless sphinxes with broken wings. Moreover, six metres from the doorway the upper register of a dividing wall was discovered, with a 40x50cm missing part on the left. It’s a small hole but big enough for the looters to enter. In front of the second septal wall inside the Amphipolis archaeological site are standing two caryatids, proving that this is an outstanding monument of particular importance . The right hand of one and the left of the other were “blocking” entrance to those who would enter the tomb. The caryatids are made of Thassian marble, have rich curls that cover their shoulders, while they wear a chiton. The face of the Caryatid in the west survives almost intact, while the face of the eastern Caryatid was found in the ground during excavations and will be attributed to the statue. The full height of each caryatid is 2.27 metres.
The dimension of the mosaic floor is 4,5m width and 3,0m high
The Abduction of Persephone by Pluto In the second chamber of the tomb archaeologists discovered a stunning 4.5 metres wide mosaic floor. The colorful floor, laid with white, black, grey, blue, red and yellow pebbles depicts the abduction of Persephone by Pluto. The bearded man with a laurel wreath upon his head driving a chariot is Pluto. Running ahead of the Chariot, is Hermes, the Greek god of travel and guide to the underworld.
1.60 meters beneath the third chamber floor, archaeologists discovered a limestone grave containing a wooden coffin with an integral human skeleton inside. The almost intact skeleton will be transferred to a laboratory for a DNA test to determine the sex and age of the dead.
There are some interesting parallels between this pair of tombs in Vergina and the new finds at Amphipolis. Firstly, elements of the painted decoration of the architectural elements at Amphipolis are a near exact match to such decoration in the tomb of Alexander IV at Aegae. Painted decoration in the tomb at Amphipolis (left) and the tomb of Alexander IV (right) Secondly, a spaced line of 8-petal rosettes newly discovered in the Amphipolis tomb provide a close match for the similar lines of rosettes that decorate the edge bands of the gold larnax from Philip II’s tomb at Aegae The line of 8-petal rosettes found at Amphipolis match the rosettes on the larnax of Alexander’s father Thirdly, the lion monument that once stood atop the great mound at Amphipolis was reconstructed on the basis of its fragments by Jacques Roger and his colleagues in an article published in 1939 (Le Monument au Lion d’Amphipolis, BCH 63, pp. 4-42). There are close parallels between the façade of this monument and the facades of the tombs of Philip II and Alexander IV . Note also that the simulated roof edge at the top of the façade of the tomb of Alexander IV matches the simulated roof edge above the rosettes in the Amphipolis tomb . Finally, it is interesting to note that the freshly revealed floor of white marble fragments fixed in a matrix of red cement in the vestibule of the tomb at Amphipolis has an exact match in a patch of flooring revealed in the late 4th century BC royal palace at Aegae. Floor section of marble fragments in a red cement matrix in the royal palace at Aegae (left) compared with the similar floor in the vestibule of the Amphipolis tomb (right). The mosaic floor at Amphipolis (left), like the mural from the Royal Tombs at Aigai (right), portrays the Abduction of Persephone by Pluto to the Underworld. Interestingly, the 300 people leaving in Mesolakia (the closest village to the site) have always had the knowledge of an important king being burried in the region. Maybe they are right. I secretly hope Alexander the Great himself lies in the tomb, I also hope Cassander is not there. I know that there will be more announcements (hope soon), but we’ll have to wait. At the moment you can have a virtual tour here via: imerisia, stormfront, kostasvakouftsis, yppo, greekreporter.