Tomb found in ancient Greek city may be linked to Alexander the Great
Nick Squires, The Telegraph
Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014
A partial view of the site where archaeologists are excavating an ancient mound in Amphipolis, northern Greece, Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. AP Photo/Alexandros Michailidis
Archaeologists in Greece have discovered a vast tomb that they believe is connected with the reign of the warrior-king Alexander the Great, who conquered vast areas of the ancient world between Greece and India.
The tomb, dating to around 300 BC, and which may have held the body of one of Alexander’s generals or a member of his family, was found beneath a huge burial mound near the ancient site of Amphipolis in northern Greece.
Antonis Samaras, Greece’s prime minister, visited the dig Tuesday and described the discovery as “clearly extremely significant.”
A five-yard-wide road led up to the tomb, the entrance of which was flanked by two carved sphinxes and was encircled by a 500-yard-long marble wall. Experts believe a 16ft tall lion sculpture previously discovered nearby would have once been placed on top of the tomb.
They ruled out the possibility that the tomb could be that of Alexander — the emperor is believed to have been buried in Egypt after he is thought to have died of a fever in Babylon in 323BC.
The tomb was found in Greece’s northern Macedonia region, from where Alexander began to forge his empire.
“The land of Macedonia continues to move and surprise us, revealing from deep within its unique treasures, which combine to form the unique mosaic of Greek history of which all Greeks are very proud,” said Mr Samaras.
A tourist takes a picture of a 4th century BC marble Lion of Amphipolis, some 5 kilometres from a large funeral mound currently under excavation by Greek archaeologists that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras visited on Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. AP Photo/Alexandros Michailidis
Archaeologists, who began excavating the site in 2012, hope to fully explore the tomb by the end of the month to determine exactly who was buried there. The site is being guarded by police while archaeologists continue their work.
Catherine Peristeri, ead of the ancient monuments department in northern Greece, said that some of Alexander’s generals and admirals had links to the area around the city of Amphipolis. It was also the place where his wife, Roxana, and son, were killed in 311BC on the orderes of Cassander, a Macedonian general who fought over the empire after Alexander the Great’s death.
Situated about 100 kilometres north-east of Greece’s second-biggest city, Thessaloniki, the tomb appears to be the largest ever discovered in Greece, and probably belonged to “a prominent Macedonian of that era,” a culture ministry official said.
The tomb, which consists of decorative white marble and frescoed walls, was partially destroyed during the Roman occupation of Greece.
Amphipolis was founded in 437 BC as an Athenian colony, but was conquered by Philip II of Macedon, Alexander’s father, in 357 BC.
Alexander the Great single-handedly changed the history of the ancient world with a lightning pace of conquest.
The Daily Telegraph
A police man locks the entrance to a site that archaeologists are excavating at an ancient mound in Amphipolis, northern Greece, Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. AP Photo/Alexandros Michailidis