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PostSubject: Alexander the Great Coins Found in Amphipolis Tomb   Sun Dec 28, 2014 4:15 pm

Alexander the Great Coins Found in Amphipolis Tomb



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Coins depicting the face of Alexander the Great were discovered inside the Amphipolis tomb, Greece, announced head of excavations Katerina Peristeri during a press conference on Saturday.

Peristeri said that the coins are dated around the 2nd century B.C., the era of the last Macedonian kings. The coins will be photographed to be shown to the public after they are cleaned. Another important finding was painted pottery that belongs to the 4th century B.C. “We have so many pottery pieces we have hardly counted them,” Peristeri said.


Meanwhile, the suspense continues on who is buried in the magnificent tomb, the largest archaeological burial monument in Greece. Reporters asked several questions on the identity of the skeleton found and the condition it was found in.


 “The bones were found inside and outside the burial pit,” said General Secretary of Culture Lina Mendoni. “The skull was quite some distance away from the pit, the lower jaw was just outside the pit and the largest part of the skeleton was inside the pit. A close look shows that the legs and arms are almost intact, rib bones and parts of the spine as well as the pelvic bones are in fragmentary condition, therefore it is impossible for archaeologists to say if they belong to a man or a woman.”


The depictions of human shapes and the inscriptions on the epistyle and other marble plates that may give more clues on the identity of the dead will be studied via ultraviolet rays, a process that has not started yet.


According to culture ministry officials, the monument was originally open to the public. It is estimated that it was looted some time during the Roman era and then it was sealed. They also said that there are no signs that Christians ever entered the tomb.


- See more at: http://greece.greekreporter.com/2014/12/01/alexander-the-great-coins-found-in-amphipolis-tomb/#sthash.td47xHow.dpuf
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PostSubject: Amphipolis: "a Cosmopolitan Inhabitant in a Cosmopolitan Tomb"   Wed Dec 31, 2014 3:33 pm

[ltr]Amphipolis: "a Cosmopolitan Inhabitant in a Cosmopolitan Tomb"[/ltr]

Posted: 12/29/2014 10:49 am EST Updated: 12/29/2014 10:59 am EST



[ltr]She visited Montreal for the inauguration of the splendid exhibition, "The Greeks:[/ltr]


[ltr] Agamemnon tο Alexander the Great," that recently opened at the Pointe-à-Callière Museum of Archaeology, showcasing 543 artifacts covering 5000 years of Greek history. She is Dr. Lina Mendoni, the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Culture of Greece, an individual who has presided over one of the country's most crucial ministries for over a decade. Perhaps the most knowledgeable person with respect to culture in Greece, including the numerous archaeological excavations and many ongoing cultural activities, she is a "power woman," closely monitoring the step-by-step progress of the exciting discovery at Amphipolis and overseeing her country's initiatives for the return of the Parthenon Marbles.[/ltr]



While in Canada, Ms. Mendoni took some time to speak about the aforementioned exhibition and about current cultural developments in Greece.







[ltr]Why did the Culture Ministry opt to cover such an expansive stretch, that is over 5000 years of history, with the exhibition, "The Greeks: Agamemnon to Alexander the Great?"[/ltr]

"The comparative advantage of Greek civilization is its long historical endurance and its timelessness. Each phase is not detached from another. Greek history is based on successive stages of the evolution of a culture with each passing day linked to the previous one. The Hellenic Peninsula, along with its seas, is a matrix that generates and evolves, as a sequence, through a continuous assimilation of elements with which the Greeks came into contact."

How did the ministry of culture react to the recent decision of the British Museum to lend the Parthenon sculptures to the Hermitage Museum of Russia?

The Greek Government, via its Prime Minister, Mr. Antonis Samaras, has formally expressed its position, voicing the discomfort of the Greek people with respect to the museum's actions. By lending a portion of the marbles abroad, the complexity of the work has been ruptured for a second time with its unity and harmony disrupted in a most violent way."

In what way can the law firm of Amal Clooney and the publicity she has created influence the return of the marbles?

"The Ministry of Culture has asked to hear the proposals of the law office of Ms. Clooney but, in the meantime, we are awaiting the results of UNESCO's proposal to Britain to participate in a mediation process to resolve the dispute. Mediation has timelines which should be respected and, as such, we must await further developments."

The most recent spectacular archaeological discovery in Greece has been the tomb of Amphipolis. What is so important about this find?

"The discovery at Kasta Hill in Amphipolis is a hugely important monument that is made up of varied characteristics from different cultural phases. It is the first time that a funerary monument, which dates from Macedonia around the end of the 4th century BC, comprises a magnificent lion that laid on top of the tomb, two superb sphinxes guarding its entrance, two splendid female figures that have been classified as caryatids, an exceptional mosaic depicting the abduction of Persephone by Pluto and Mercury and other frescoes that are slowly being revealed.

Has the tomb been ransacked?

"It is absolutely certain that the tomb has been robbed as we have witnessed that the occupant's funeral gifts have all been removed."

Where can the skeleton that was found at Amphipolis lead archaeologists?

"It has been neither embalmed nor burnt, so the scientists will be able to establish the individual's gender and age. In a few weeks, we will have these important results, so we may then proceed, taking into account the historical data and the historical composition, to formulate a working hypothesis. If it is a woman's skeleton, it will be easier to identify the buried person, if it is that of a male, there are many more names to consider."

What is the value of this project to the archaeological world?

"It is a monument with universal characteristics, indicating that its creator, as well as the individual buried there, were both true cosmopolitans."


Greece's culture is intertwined with its rich ancient history. Does contemporary Greece, in the midst of a severe economic crisis, produce modern culture?

"Of course Greece produces contemporary culture. Even during these trying economic times, a new creative era is taking hold in a fanciful way. In dance, at the National School of Orchestral Art, in cinema or through the development of other modern initiatives. At a time when the crisis is affecting all sectors of the economy, the Ministry of Culture, with the use of available European Union resources, has secured funding for 643 projects, including the restorations of monuments and archaeological sites, the creation of new museums and many other contemporary projects."

Is Cultural tourism occurring in Greece in a systematic way?

"The Ministry of Culture is charged with creating the conditions for cultural tourism while the Ministry of Tourism is responsible for providing its routes. To this effect, for example, the Ministry of Culture has restored 270 Byzantine monuments as well as various Ottoman shrines, attracting many tourists from Russia and Turkey, respectively."


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/justine-frangouliargyris/amphipolis-a-cosmopolitan_b_6371990.html
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PostSubject: Craze Over Greek Tomb Spawns Virtual Worlds Online   Sun Jan 04, 2015 9:19 am

Craze Over Greek Tomb Spawns Virtual Worlds Online
by Megan Gannon, News Editor   |   December 30, 2014 09:08am ET




Taking some aesthetic cues from a mid-1990svideo game, an interactive reconstruction on amfipoli-news.com lets users move through the tomb with an avatar. 
Credit: amfipoli-news.com
View full size image
You might not be able to physically step inside the monumental tomb discovered this past summer in Amphipolis, Greece, but there are plenty of unofficial places to go on the Internet to pretend you're doing just that.


The tantalizing finds at Amphipolis have spawned a media frenzy, as well as a cottage industry of artistic reconstructions online. You can virtually stomp on a 2,300-year-old mosaic on amfipoli-news.com. You can use your mouse to rotate a model of the burial complex ontheamphipolistomb.com. Type "Amphipolis" into the search bar on YouTube and there's a multitude of 3D renderings to explore.


None of these virtual worlds are affiliated with the Greek Ministry of Culture, the government body in charge of the official excavation. Rather, most of them seem to be made by 3D designers and artists hoping to be part of a once-in-a-generation discovery from the era of Alexander the Great. [See Photos from the Amphipolis Excavation







Passion projects


Nikolaos Alexandrou, who now lives in Rome but was born about an hour and a half from Amphipolis, told Live Science that he started making a model of the tomb as a personal project.


In July, Alexandrou graduated from the University of L'Aquila in Italy with a master's degree in architectural civil engineering. A month later, excavators at Amphipolis revealed the arched entrance to the tomb, guarded by two broken sphinxes. Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras toured the site, and later told reporters he was standing in front of an "extremely important discovery."



Alexandrou said he had previously created 3D renderings of buildings, but not archaeological ruins. As the dig became a major news story, Alexandrou tried his hand at a reconstruction of Amphipolis based on images and drawings released by the Ministry of Culture. He was pleased with the results and thought others might be interested in seeing his model.


"I thought it would be great to promote the Greek heritage," Alexandrou said. "So I decided to upload this stuff to YouTube."


The first video Alexandrou posted in mid-October has been viewed about 200,000 times as of this writing. Fans of the work asked Alexandrou to make more models, recreating the broken arms of the site's two female statues (called caryatids) and filling in the missing portion of the stunning mosaic.  He obliged with a handful of new videos that restore the monument to what he imagines its original state was (with some modern touches, like museum-quality lighting).


Dimitrios Tsalkanis, a 3D artist based in Athens, might be one of the newest members to the club of Amphipolis artists. Tsalkanis previously created a website (www.ancientathens3d.com) to share his reconstructions of ancient Athens. He told Live Science in an email that he thought tackling the Amphipolis tomb would be an "intriguing and interesting challenge," and he uploaded his video on Dec. 13.



Tsalkanis emphasized that his modelis an artistic reconstruction, not an archaeological one. He took some liberties with the touches of paint he added to the tomb's sphinxes and statues. However, he said his choices were based on studies about the colors Greeks were using during this period, as well as the traces of paint archaeologists have documented at Amphipolis.


Big discovery, with big questions


"We understand from the people around us, the Greek people, that this is a big thing for them," said Dimitris Aggeloudis, a web developer in Greece. He is one of the minds behind amfipoli-news.com, one of a handful of Amphipolis-centric news operations that sprang to life after the tomb was uncovered. The website offers its own 3D tour of the tomb, including an interactive portal where you can guide a male avatar through the tomb using your arrow keys.


Aggeloudis and some friends launched their website in October after tracking the growing interest in the dig. In a conversation over Skype, Aggeloudis and Panagiotis Panagiotou, a student at the University of Thessaloniki who is in charge of the English portion of the website, said the tomb at Amphipolis is the biggest archaeological find in the region since the discovery of the royal Macedonian burials at Vergina, nearly 40 years ago.


In the fall of 1977, Greek archaeologist Manolis Andronikos found agold-filled Macedonian tomb at Vergina, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) west of Amphipolis. Andronikos held a press conference and announced he had found the resting place of Alexander the Great's assassinated father, Philip II.


More than three decades later, Andronikos is a household name in the region. There is a bronze bust of the archaeologist outside the Museum of Thessaloniki, and a lounge named after him in the Thessaloniki airport. And yet, historians and archaeologists are still debating whether Andronikos accurately identified the occupant of the tomb as Phillip II. Other scholars have suggested that the tomb may have had a different occupant: Philip III Arrhidaeus, Alexander's half-brother, who was perhaps mentally disabled, and was executed in 317 B.C.


Echoes of Vergina


Likewise, the findings at Amphipolis have turned lead archaeologist Katerina Peristeri into a national celebrity, and her excavation has not been without controversy. It's unusual for an archaeological dig to attract so much attention in real time; many discoveries aren't brought to the public's awareness until after they are documented, analyzed and published in a scientific journal. Officials with the Greek Ministry of Culture have been careful about what information they released to the public, and their updates, at times, have created "unreasonable expectations" for the dig, said Tsalkanis.


Many are still holding out hope that the tomb at Amphipolis could be the long-lost resting place of Alexander the Great, though historical texts indicate he was eventually buried in Alexandria, Egypt, after he died in 323 B.C. This September, Greek media quoted the Greek Minister of Culture, Kostas Tasoulas, as saying that it would be "impossible" for Alexander to have been buried at Amphipolis. But a day later, Tasoulas backtracked on that statement, keeping the mystery alive.


 Other commentators have speculated that the bones found in the tomb might belong to one of Alexander's generals or family members.


Some of critics have accused Prime Minister Samaras' coalition government of using the tomb as a distraction amid economic trouble. In the same month that the tomb discovery was announced, Samaras was facing harsh criticism over an unpopular new property tax. Reuters reported on one cartoon that emerged in Greek media at the time, showing Samaras urging archaeologists to identify the person buried in the grave — but only to make him pay the property tax.


Tsalkanis said some of those controversies weighed on him as he made his 3D model.


"This whole situation had troubled me a lot before proceeding into the creation of this video," Tsalkanis said in an email. "But a monument's impact on society is always interesting to investigate, both at the time when it was built and also at the time it is being 'rediscovered.' So, I think that creating this 3D animation fits both aspects."


In Alexandrou's eyes, archaeological discoveries are a legitimate cause for a boost in morale. Ruins and tombs are big attractions for Greek's tourism industry, which provided 15.8 percent of Greece's GDP in 2011, according to a report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.


"If we don't use this, then what else? Every finding is another helper from the ancient Greeks," Alexandrou said.


Follow Megan Gannon on Twitter. Follow us@livescienceFacebook Google+. Original article on Live Science.
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PostSubject: Geophysical survey reveals more hot spots at Amphipolis   Sat Jan 10, 2015 5:55 pm

Geophysical survey reveals more hot spots at Amphipolis


 Posted by TANNArchaeoHeritage, Archaeology, Breakingnews, Europe, Greece, Southern Europe 5:30 PM 


The digital simulation or model of the Kasta hill in Amphipolis that was created by the research team conducting the geophysical and geological mapping of the area reveals more promising sites for excavation, according to a new announcement by the Greek Ministry of Culture. 






View of the Kasta mound at Amphipolis [Credit: To Vima]


 More specifically, the Ministry said that the research team, headed by by Gregorios Tsokas, Director of the Laboratory of Applied Geophysics of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, has created a digital simulation of the site, as it was before the construction of the tomb.


 The comparison of the model with the present situation and the situation before the recent excavations revealed that the largest part of the hill consists of natural formations.






An area to the west of the hill's peak (here shown in red) appears to be of  particular archaeological interest [Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture] 


However, the Ministry noted that the model is not yet complete. Boreholes are to be drilled for geotechnical purposes and the resulting data will be integrated into the simulation.


 “The images of the hill’s interior produced by electrical tomography show static structures, which may be ancient constructions. Therefore, archaeological investigation is required at the points where these appear,” said the Ministry.


 Source: Greek Ministry of Culture [January 09, 2015]

Read more at: http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2015/01/geophysical-survey-reveals-more-hot.html#.VLGeuyvF_Qg
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PostSubject: Alexander the Great virtual museum to be completed end of 2015   Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:13 am

Alexander the Great virtual museum to be completed end of 2015




 Posted by TANNArchaeology, Breakingnews, Exhibitions, Greece, More Stuff, Resources 4:00 PM 




The virtual museum for Alexander the Great, which through the internet will present the personality and the legacy of the Macedonian king to the whole world, is expected to be completed at the end of 2015, archaeologist, head of the Imathia Antiquities Ephorate and initiator of the project Angeliki Kottaridou said on Monday at an event held at Ianos bookstore.










 "Alexander fighting king Darius III of Persia", Alexander Mosaic, Naples National  Archaeological Museum [Credit: WikiCommons] 




A five hour documentary, seven thematic units, 304 objects which will serve as a starting point to unfold aspects of the Hellenistic world and 3,500 texts make up the virtual museum that will run through the centuries, from the beginning of Macedonia until the modern time references to Alexander the Great. 




Apart from the virtual museum, Kottaridou also referred to the Polycentric Museum of Aigai, the building of which will be completed this year.




 “The idea was to create an open museum that is in discourse with the visitors and embraces the whole region. We are creating units scattered around, a vast archaeological park of 50 hectares including the tomb cemetery,” she explained.




 She also commented on the excavation at the ancient Amphipolis site. Kottaridi estimated that the tomb includes more than one phase and that the findings date back to the 2nd century BC.




 She also criticized the excavation team for “taking the hypothesis as a given fact”, as she said.




 "The case of Amphipolis showed us some sociological boundaries and what happens when you consider a hypothesis a given case; the hypothesis that Alexander’s family is there may be impressive to many people, but saying such a thing requires strong evidence. When you do so and you cannot support it, then you have a problem,” she said.




 "If I say that this tomb is the biggest one that exists and it is not even a tomb but a natural hill, then I probably have a problem. This means I cannot tell what I wish for from reality. When I find a big hole in the grave, I know it's been tampered with or there is at least 95 percent probability it has been tampered with. If for four months I tell reporters it has not been tampered with and it has been so, then I have a problem. I do not care what the political leadership says; I, as a scientist, have a problem. " 




She also ruled out the possibility of Alexander the Great being buried in Amphipolis. “If there is something that we know, this is that Alexander the Great is not there. When I wrote this, many people told me this was upsetting as they wished he was buried there. I do not want to find the deceased Alexander, I am not interested in buried bones and I do not believe I will find any. I would rather look for his living memory,” she noted. 




Source: ANA-MPA [January 12, 2015]

Read more at: http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2015/01/alexander-great-virtual-museum-to-be.html#.VLkNAyvF_Qg
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PostSubject: Bones found in Magnificent Amphipolis Tomb belong to Five People, Ministry Announced   Mon Jan 19, 2015 8:57 am




19 JANUARY, 2015 - 12:08 APRILHOLLOWAY

Bones found in Magnificent Amphipolis Tomb belong to Five People, Ministry Announced


The Greek Ministry of Culture has announced the long-awaited results of the analysis on the bones found inside the 4th century BC tomb uncovered in Amphipolis in northern Greece, and the news is quite unexpected – the bones belong to not one, but five individuals, pointing to the likelihood that it is a family tomb.


The tomb is located within Kasta Hill in what was once the ancient city of Amphipolis, conquered by Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, in 357 BC. Experts have known about the existence of the burial mound in Amphipolis, located about 100km northeast of Thessaloniki, since the 1960s, but work only began in earnest there in 2012, when archaeologists discovered that Kasta Hill had been surrounded by a nearly 500-meter wall made from marble. 


And only in the last few months did they discover the incredible chambers decorated with marble sphinxes and caryatids, an intricate mosaic floor, and a limestone sarcophagus containing hundreds of bone fragments.





Amphipolis Tomb by Greektoys.org (update) on Sketchfab.


According to the Ministry’s Press Release, archaeologists recovered a total of 550 bone fragments, both crushed and intact, including a skull in good condition.  After a meticulous process of piecing the fragments together, scientists identified 157 complete bones.


Following the macroscopic study of bone material, which was undertaken by a multidisciplinary team from the Universities of Aristotle and Democritus, researchers were able to determine that the minimum number of individuals is five – a woman aged around 60 years, two men aged 35-45 years, a newborn infant, and the cremated remains of another individual of unknown age and gender.  In addition, they found a number of animal bones, most likely belonging to a horse.


Person 1: Female, approximately 60 years



Scientists were able to identify person 1 as female based on the pelvic bones, the bones of the skull, the mandible, and the morphological features of the bones, while age was determined based on the loss of posterior teeth, degenerative lesions, particularly in the spine, and the presence of metabolic diseases such as osteoporosis and frontal hyperostosis.  Her height is estimated at 157cm.
Most of the bones found can be attributed to the female, and they were located approximately 1 meter above the floor of the cist.




Bones belonging to the 60-year-old female in the Amphipolis tomb. Credit: Ministry of Culture


Persons 2 and 3: Two men, 35 to 45 years



Two of the individuals identified are known to have been men, one around 35 years of age, and the other closer to 45 years of age. The younger of the two men, whose height is estimated at 168cm, bears traces of cut marks on the left upper thoracic spine, two sides and cervical vertebra. His injuries are consistent with violent injury caused by a sharp instrument, such as a knife, which are known to have caused his death since no healing indications could be distinguished.
The slightly older man, whose bones were found higher than the first man, measures around 162cm in height and has evidence of a fully healed fracture in his right radius, close to the right wrist. Both men show degenerative osteoarthritis and spondylitis.




Cut marks were found in multiple places in the bones of person 2 in the Amphipolis tomb. Credit: Ministry of Culture


Person 4: Newborn infant



The fourth individual identified was a newborn infant, whose sex could not be determined.  The determination of age was made based on the length and width of the left humerus and left mandible.




Bones found in the Amphipolis tomb belonging to newborn infant. Credit: Ministry of Culture


Person 5: Cremated individual of unknown age and sex



The fifth person is represented by only a few burnt fragments. While age and sex cannot be determined, the bones are believed to belong to an adult individual.




Person 5 bones (Amphipolis tomb) that have undergone the influence of high temperature, after burning. Credit: Ministry of Culture


The scientific team will continue to carry out in-depth studies of the bones, including DNA analysis, to obtain more detailed information about the individuals including their diet, their affinity and place of origin, whether they grew up in Amphipolis or had moved from elsewhere, when they were buried/cremated, and whether the individuals are related to each other. The hope is that the results will enable the researchers to piece together the social and historical context and finally determine the identity of the individuals buried inside this incredibly important funerary monument.


Featured image: Marble sphinx and limestone sarcophagus found at Amphipolis. Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture


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PostSubject: New theories on Amphipolis Tomb occupants   Thu Jan 22, 2015 12:27 am

New theories on Amphipolis Tomb occupants


 Posted by TANNArchaeoHeritage, Archaeology, Breakingnews, Europe, Greece, Southern Europe 9:30 PM 


The search for the identity of the buried in the Amphipolis tomb, Greece, has led archaeologists and historians to create new scenarios, with family ties between the five dead being one of them. 






However, historians speculate that the 60-year-old female is most likely Olympias, mother of Alexander the Great; the two adult male bodies are probably sons of King Cassander (305-297 B.C.), one of them was savagely murdered; the cremated body and the infant remain a mystery. It should be noted that Olympias died at the age of 59. 


Also, ancient Macedonians did not bury their dead together. According to the book “Burial Customs in Ancient Greek World” by Donna Kurtz and John Boardman, “During the Hellenistic period, the common man was satisfied with a simple sarcophagus, a cyst or tiled grave or urn. Important innovations are the monumental tombs of the rich and their families, which generally took the form of ornate chamber tombs or overhead mausoleums…. This was the age of the individual and for the first time we have ample evidence of faith in human immortality, while the case of Alexander and his successors clearly indicate participation in the divine nature of those dead who had means.”


 Historians say that if indeed the woman in the grave is Olympias and the tomb was erected in her honor, then Macedonians not only violated their customs, but they also did something that seems absurd and unthinkable: They built one of the largest and most elaborate tombs of the known world for a woman, honoring her as a demigoddess or hero. This justifies the initial interpretation given to the monument by the excavators and Greece ‘s Ministry of Culture. Other archaeologists reject the Olympias scenario altogether, insisting that the mother of Alexander the Great is buried at Pydna, as indicated by an inscription there. 


In an official statement issued by the Ministry of Culture, the chief researchers explain that the crucial microscopic study of the findings starts now, immediately after the first recognition of their basic characteristics. Therefore, no one can say with certainty who the five dead in the tomb were. Also, it is not certain that the five bodies were buried together, since there is a possibility that looters or vandals threw the skeletons together. 


What is certain is that the female skeleton belongs to a 60-year-old woman. Olympias was stoned to death under orders of Cassander. So far, the anthropological examination of the female skeleton did not show any signs of hard blows.


 In contrast, researchers have no doubt that the younger of the two male “brothers” was murdered, probably with a knife. If further study of skeletal residue confirms that the two men were blood related, then scientists can imply that, indeed, the two men in the grave are two of the sons of Cassander. Yet, historical sources of the period are incomplete. Even the ages of Cassander’s sons are disputed by some historians.


 Author: Philip Chrysopoulos | Source: Greek Reporter [January 20, 2015]

Read more at: http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2015/01/new-theories-on-amphipolis-tomb.html#.VMB7AkfF_Qg

Follow us: @ArchaeoNewsNet on Twitter | groups/thearchaeologynewsnetwork/ on Facebook
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PostSubject: Bones From Era of Alexander the Great Raise More Questions Than Answers   Tue Jan 27, 2015 9:23 pm

Bones From Era of Alexander the Great Raise More Questions Than Answers


Analysis of human remains may take years to sort out who was buried in massive Greek tomb.






Two guardian sphinxes sit on a marble lintel at the entrance to the tomb at Amphipolis.


PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF GREEK MINISTRY OF CULTURE  


Kristin Romey


National Geographic

PUBLISHED JANUARY 26, 2015


Media reports and the blogosphere are fueling speculation that the remains of a woman found in a massive tomb in northern Greece may belong to Alexander the Great’s mother, Olympias, who was executed when she was about 60 years old.

The Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports reported last week that the remains of five individuals have been found in the burial chamber of the elaborate tomb beneath what is known as Kasta Hill in the ancient city of Amphipolis.


 Archaeologists excavating the site have dated the tomb to the final quarter of the fourth century B.C., around the time of Alexander the Great’s death in 323 B.C. (See “Behind Tomb Connected to Alexander the Great, Intrigue Worthy of ‘Game of Thrones.’”)


But the discovery has failed to settle the issue of whether the monument may have belonged to a family member or close associate of the famous Macedonian conqueror. And many historians are dismissing the rampant hypothesizing as a distracting parlor game. (See “Who’s Buried in Largest Tomb in Northern Greece? New Finds Raise Intrigue.”)


“We have so far an elaborate monument that’s partially damaged and vandalized,” points out Frank L. Holt, a University of Houston professor who has written several books on Alexander the Great. “It contained bones and cremains of persons unknown who may have nothing to do with the original structure or with each other.


“The chronology remains uncertain,” he says. “The royal status of the bodies, and of the building, cannot yet be verified. Why the headlong rush to judgment?’


Women and Men, Old and Young, Buried and Burned
From the 550 pieces of human bone recovered from the burial chamber, researchers have so far identified a woman over 60 years old, two men between the ages of 35 and 45, a newborn infant of unknown gender, and a very small set of cremated remains that most likely belonged to an adult of unknown age and gender.


About a quarter (157) of the remains are intact enough to allow researchers to eventually identify the gender, age, and height of the individuals, while the rest are fragments of vertebrae and other skeletal remains. An unknown number of animal remains, including bones of horses or donkeys, were also found in the chamber.


Complicating interpretation of the remains is the fact that none of the bodies were found in their original burial places, and no significant burial objects have been reported found.



From the 550 pieces of human bone recovered from the burial chamber, researchers have so far identified a woman over 60 years old (the skeleton shown above), two men between the ages of 35 and 45, a newborn, and a cremated adult.


PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF GREEK MINISTRY OF CULTURE


Some of the woman’s bones were found in a small grave in the floor of the chamber, yet her skull, jaw, and the remains of the other four identified individuals were scattered within an 8.5-foot-thick (2.6-meter) layer of sediment inside the chamber. Archaeologists blame this disruption on the digging of early grave robbers, as well as natural phenomena such as earthquakes.


Thanks to looters and Mother Nature, archaeology’s most basic tool, stratigraphy (the relative dating of objects based on their sequence of burial), will most likely prove inadequate for understanding how, or if, the five individuals found in the burial chamber are related to each other.


To answer these questions, researchers are planning to date the remains through accelerator mass spectrometry, a technique for measuring naturally occurring radionuclides, and attempt to extract DNA from viable samples. Isotopic analysis should also provide information on each individual’s diet and environment.


Those who are expecting quick answers, however, may be in for disappointment:


 The research is part of a larger multi-year program involving the analysis of some 300 sets of human remains taken from other ancient burial sites around Amphipolis.


Specialists who study human remains are pleased with the Greek researchers’ careful pace. “It will make our discussion and understanding of the biology of the five individuals from the tomb much more relevant,” says Smithsonian physical anthropologist Bruno Frohlich.


More Burials Awaiting Discovery?


The laboratory analysis of the tomb’s occupants may take several years. Plus, another recent discovery at Kasta Hill suggests that the archaeological team will be in it for the long haul—and not just for the additional study, documentation, and conservation of the tomb that must now follow the preliminary excavation.


Geophysical studies made in the past few months indicate that there’s a good chance that the massive hill, which has a circumference of 1,630 feet (497 meters), may contain several more man-made structures for archaeologists to excavate, particularly in the area west of the current tomb.


Meanwhile, specialists are intrigued with the little information that has been released so far by the government regarding the enormous size, unusual features, and stunning decorative features of the tomb. (See “Queen of the Underworld Sheds New Light on Greek Tomb.”)


“Even if we never find out who the skeletal remains belong to, this is an internationally significant find and a win-win for history,” says University of Missouri professor and Alexander expert Ian Worthington.


But tell that to a global audience that has been eagerly awaiting a conclusion to this captivating ancient mystery since the tomb was first discovered in 2012.


“If you rush yourself, you run the risk of making mistakes that could be definitive,” cautioned Greek Minister of Culture and Sports Konstantinos Tasoulas during a November press conference.


He reassured anxious reporters that new revelations about the tomb will continue to emerge—albeit slowly: “That’s the charm of archaeology.”


Nikiforos Skoumas contributed reporting from Athens.


http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/01/150126-amphipolis-tomb-olympias-alexander-great-greece-archaeology/
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PostSubject: Tour the Amphipolis tomb:   Sat Feb 14, 2015 1:56 pm

Tour the Amphipolis tomb: Stunning animation reveals former splendour of grave that could belong to Alexander the Great and his mother



  • Video shows how the Amphipolis tomb in Serres, Greece may have looked 


  • Huge burial site is said to date back to between 325 and 300 BC


  • This means it could have been built during the reign of Alexander the Great


  • An underground vault, or fourth chamber was discovered in November 


  • Bones of an unidentified woman, a newborn baby and two men, as well as fragments of a cremated person, were unearthed in the vault


  • Research shows the woman was over 60, while the men were aged 35 to 45


  • Olympias died aged 59, Alexander the Great died of a fever at the age of 33


  • Height of the skeletons also matches with reports of Alexander's stature


  • One of the men had cut marks in his left chest that were most likely from mortal injuries inflicted by a knife or small sword



By SARAH GRIFFITHS and VICTORIA WOOLLASTON FOR MAILONLINE

PUBLISHED: 04:17 EST, 13 February 2015 | UPDATED: 08:39 EST, 13 February 2015





If you have been gripped by the rich archaeological finds at Amphipolis tomb in Greece, you can now take a virtual tour exploring all its key features and how they may have looked over 2,000 years ago.


The video includes renderings of a pair of stone sphinxes that guard the entrance of the vast burial mound and the intricate classical mosaic that was found inside.


It does not, however, feature the five people found in the tomb, which were recently discovered in a concealed, underground chamber.
Scroll down for video 





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Fans of the excavations at Amphipolis tomb in Greece can now take a virtual tour of a reconstruction of the site (a screenshot is shown). It includes renderings of a pair of stone sphinxes that guard the entrance of the vast burial mound and the intricate classical mosaic that was found inside


Bones of an unidentified woman, a newborn baby and two men, as well as fragments of a cremated person, were unearthed in an underground vault on the site, near Greece's second city of Thessaloniki.


The Greek Culture Ministry said research on the bones showed the buried woman was 60 years old, while the two men were aged 35 to 45 years old.



Alexander the Great was said to be 33 when he died, while his mother Olympias died aged 59 - although the Ministry has not said whether the bones belong to either of these dignitaries.
The virtual tour of the tomb was created by 'AncientAthens3D’ studio and is based on details published by the Greek Ministry of Culture, including the dimensions of the various rooms and locations of artefacts such as the caryatids of the second room.
Excavations at the site began in 2012 and captured global attention last August when archaeologists announced the discovery of the vast tomb guarded by two sphinxes and circled by a 1,630ft (497-metre) marble wall. 






While the video shows key architectural features of the mysterious tomb, it doesn't show the location of the human remains inside the huge ancient structure






Bones of an unidentified woman, a newborn baby and two men, as well as fragments of a cremated person, were unearthed in a secret vault on the Amphipolis site in Serres, Greece. The Greek Culture Ministry said research on the bones showed the buried woman (skeleton pictured) was 60 years old

COULD THE REMAINS BELONG TO ALEXANDER THE GREAT? 





Alexander (statue pictured) was born in Pella, the ancient capital of Macedonia in July 356 BC, and died of a fever in Babylon in June 323 BC


Alexander (statue pictured right) was born in Pella, the ancient capital of Macedonia in July 356 BC, and died of a fever in Babylon in June 323 BC.  

Alexander led an army across the Persian territories of Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt claiming the land as he went.


His greatest victory was at the Battle of Gaugamela, now northern Iraq, in 331 BC, and during his trek across these Persian territories, he was said to never have suffered a defeat.


This led him to be known as Alexander the Great.


Following this battle in Gaugamela, Alexander led his army a further 11,000 miles (17,700km), founded over 70 cities and created an empire that stretched across three continents.


This covered from Greece in the west, to Egypt in the south, Danube in the north, and Indian Punjab to the East.


Alexander was buried in Egypt.


His fellow royals were traditionally interred in a cemetery near Vergina, far to the west.


The lavishly-furnished tomb of Alexander's father, Philip II, was discovered during the 1970s.


There is widespread speculation over who was buried at the Amphipolis site - from Roxana, Alexander's Persian wife, to Olympias, the king's mother, to one of his generals.


The Greek Culture Ministry said research on the bones found in the vault showed the buried woman was over 60 years old, while the two men were aged 35 to 45 years old.






Alexander the Great was said to be 33 when he died, while his mother Olympias (etched in a 316BC coin) died aged 59 - although the ministry has not said whether the bones belong to either of these dignitaries. The other male could be the rumoured remains of a general, but further tests will need to be carried out
Alexander the Great was said to be 33 when he died, while his mother Olympias died aged 59 - although the ministry has not said whether the bones belong to either of these dignitaries. 


The other male could be the rumoured remains of Alexander's general, but further tests will need to be carried out. 


In particular, further analysis will also be done on the bones of the woman and two men to determine if they were related.


'Part of the analysis will look into a possible blood relationship, but the lack of teeth and cranial parts that are used in ancient DNA analysis may not allow for a successful identification,' the ministry said. 


One of the men had cut marks in his left chest that were most likely from mortal injuries inflicted by a knife or small sword, the ministry said. But, Alexander was said to have died of a fever. 


Both males had an estimated height of 5ft 3in (1.62 metres) to 5ft 7in (1.68 metres).


Armour previously found, which is said to have belonged to either Alexander or his father Philip II of Macedon, reportedly would have fitted a person who measured around 5ft 2in.


But Andrew Stewart, an expert on Alexander art, placed Alexander's height closer to 5ft 7in.


It is expected, however, that Alexander and his mother would have been buried in separate tombs - especially given the fact they died seven years apart, in 316 BC and 323 BC respectively. 





A pair of headless sphinxes were among the first major finds unearthed in the excavation, which began in 2012 and aims to reveal for whom the grand mausoleum was built


Since then the tomb has also yielded a colourful floor mosaic depicting the abduction of Persephone, the daughter of Zeus, the supreme deity of ancient Greece, as well as two sculpted female figures known as Caryatids.


Experts initially warned that the third chamber was probably the tomb's last, and that it may have been robbed in antiquity with any remains destroyed.


However, archaeologists found a collection of bones from five individuals, raising hopes that the mound may be Alexander the Great's final resting place.


It is traditionally thought that Alexander and his mother would have been buried in separate tombs - especially given the fact they died seven years apart.


The other male could be the rumoured remains of Alexander's general, but further tests will need to be carried out. 







The few burned bone remains of the fifth interred person,who was cremated, could not reveal the person's gender and authorities said further testing would be carried out. Further analysis will also be done on the bones of the woman and two men to determine if they were related. The bones from the newborn are shown





Bones with indicated cut marks were among the remains found in the underground vault. The vault was discovered in November when the culture ministry confirmed an entrance to a subterranean room was found lying beneath the vast burial complex's third chamber, found in September


The Amphipolis site, believed to be the largest ancient tomb to have been discovered in Greece, dates back to Alexander's era, around 300 to 325 BC.


The ancient conqueror died in Babylonia - in present day Iraq - in 323 BC, after a military campaign across the Middle East extending out to present-day Pakistan.


His mother Olympias died in 316 BC. Alexander's exact burial site is not known, but historians place it in the Egyptian city of Alexandria.


Speculation that the limestone grave in the Amphipolis tomb site might belong to the legendary leader, to one of his generals, or to family members has been rife since the dig began back in 2012.


But it ramped up last summer after a number of chambers, and later the underground vault, were unearthed.


The Culture Ministry added the woman was approximately 5ft 1in (1.57metres) tall. 







Experts first uncovered huge statues in the tomb (the exterior is pictured) but were concerned that due to the positioning of some of the finds, it may have been looted. For months, the public has waited with baited breath for news of human remains






Remains belonging to two men who were aged 35 to 45 years old were found. One of the men (pictured) had cut marks in his left chest that were most likely from mortal injuries inflicted by a knife or small sword. The men had an estimated height of 5ft 3in (1.62 metres) to 5ft 7in (1.68 metres), the ministry said


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2951044/Tour-Amphipolis-tomb-Stunning-animation-reveals-former-splendour-grave-belong-Alexander-Great-mother.html#v-3868668363001









The great Amphipolis Tomb seen for the first time on video





One of the men had cut marks in his left chest that were most likely from mortal injuries inflicted by a knife or small sword, the ministry said. But, Alexander was said to have died of a fever.


Both males had an estimated height of 5ft 3in (1.62 metres) to 5ft 7in (1.68 metres).


Armour previously found, which is said to have belonged to either Alexander or his father Philip II of Macedon, reportedly would have fitted a person who measured around 5ft 2in.


But Andrew Stewart, an expert on Alexander art, placed Alexander's height closer to 5ft 7in.


The few burned bone remains of the fifth interred person, who was cremated, could not reveal the person's gender and authorities said further testing would be carried out. 





Last year, archaeologists found a female head belonging to a headless sphinx. Because it was found further into the tomb than the mythical creature's body, it suggests the tomb may have been opened years ago. The head has tumbling curls, (pictured) which experts say were once painted a red colour


THE ANCIENT MOSAIC 


The mosaic measures 15 feet (4.5 metres) by 10 feet (3 metres) and covers the whole floor of a room, which is thought to be the ante chamber to the main burial room at Amphipolis.


It is composed of tiny pieces of white, black, blue, red, yellow and grey stone to form an image of a chariot drawn by two white horses, driven by a bearded man wearing a crown of laurel leaves.


Hermes, the messenger of the gods in ancient Greece, stands in front of the chariot, according to experts from the Greek Culture Ministry.


It has not been competely uncovered and a large section in the centre is missing.


The mosaic dates from the fourth century BC, matching dating of the other finds, which are from the time of Alexander the Great.


Further analysis will also be done on the bones of the woman and two men to determine if they were related.


'Part of the analysis will look into a possible blood relationship, but the lack of teeth and cranial parts that are used in ancient DNA analysis may not allow for a successful identification,' the ministry said. 


Last year, the Greek Ministry of Culture showed off the mosaic inside the tomb, which measures 15 feet (4.5 metres) by 10 feet (3 metres) to cover the whole floor of a room.


The female figure in it is Persephone - daughter of Zeus and the harvest goddess Demeter – who is wearing a white robe and riding in a chariot.


Experts say the scene shows her being abducted by Pluto and being led to the underworld. She goes on to become queen of Hades for half of every year. 


The scene, based on ancient Greek myths, was popular for illustrating tombs at the time and a mural on a similar theme is found in another royal tomb at Aiges, nearby. 







Experts believe the ancient mound, situated around 65 miles (100km) from Thessaloniki (shown on the map) was built for a prominent Macedonian in around 300 to 325BC






This is the second door to be discovered in the tomb. The third chamber, in which it was found, has an incline caused by the floor caving in. It is filled with sandy soil, which is likely to be more than five feet deep






An imposing mosaic of Pluto driving a chariot (pictured) was also recently uncovered, adding weight to archaeologists' suspicions that the burial mound could hold the remains of Alexander the Great's family


WHY MIGHT THE TOMB BELONG TO OLYMPIAS? 


Expert Andrew Chugg thinks the sphinxes are similar to some found in the tomb of Alexander the Great's grandmother.


He thinks that queens of the time were associated with the mythical animals.


The sphinx statues are also similar to a pair at Saqqara, which is thought to be the site of the first tomb of Alexander the Great, before his body was moved.


The lion which was once top the burial mound has a similar façade to the tomb of Alexander the Great's father, Philip II.


This evidence suggests the burial was built for Olympias or Alexander the Great's wife, Roxane who both died in the last quarter of the 4th century BC when the tomb was built.


Mr Chugg thinks it was for Olympias because the caryatid female figures are probably Klodones – the priestess of Dionysus.


A story by Greek writer Plutarch that Olympia's womb was closed by a lion seal – perhaps explaining the connection with the lion statue. 

The mosaic is composed of tiny pieces of white, black, blue, red, yellow and grey stone to form an image of a chariot drawn by two white horses, driven by a Pluto - a bearded man wearing a crown of laurel leaves.


It dates from the fourth century BC, matching dating of the other finds, which are also from the time of Alexander the Great.


There is widespread speculation over who was buried at the site - from Roxana, Alexander's Persian wife, to Olympias, the king's mother, to one of his generals.


A number of scholars believe that the presence of female figures, known as caryatids, show that the tomb belongs to a female.


Writer Andrew Chugg, who has published a book on the search for the legendary leader's tomb, as well as several academic papers, told The Greek Reporter that sphinxes guarding the tomb are decorated in a similar way to those found in the tombs of two queens of Macedon, including the king's grandmother.


He goes on to explain that the sphinxes guarding the tomb are most similar to a pair at Saqqara, which is thought to be the site of the first tomb of Alexander the Great - whose body, it is thought, was moved around after his death. 




The recently-uncovered mosaic shows Persephone being abducted by Pluto (pictured), who according to the ancient tale, is taking her to the underworld aboard a chariot











In Greek mythology, Persephone is the daughter of Zeus and the harvest goddess Demeter. The tale in which she is carried off to live in the underworld with Pluto, has inspired many great works of art, such as a statue by Gian Lorenze Bernini (left) and Dante Gabriel Rossetti (right) who chose to depict her with darker hair
He also points out that the facades of the tombs of Alexander the Great's father, Philip II and Alexander IV, are similar to the façade of the lion monument found, which was thought to have originally stood atop the mystery tomb


In addition to this there are also similarities between the Serres paving and rosettes and those found inside Philip II's.


With all this, he believes the grand burial was built for Olympias or Alexander the Great's wife, Roxane, who are both thought to have died at Amphipolis around the same time as the tomb's construction in the last quarter of the 4th century BC.


Mr Chugg thinks it was most likely built for Olympias because the caryatid female figures are probably Klodones – the priestess of Dionysus. 


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2951044/Tour-Amphipolis-tomb-Stunning-animation-reveals-former-splendour-grave-belong-Alexander-Great-mother.html#v-3836431839001








Enter the Amphipolis tomb with this 3D tour








A number of scholars believe the presence of female figures, known as caryatids (pictured) show the tomb in the Amphipolis region of Serres belongs to a female - probably Alexander the Great's mother, Olympias










Details of a sculpted female figure, known as a Caryatid, is seen inside a site of an archaeological excavation at the town of Amphipolis, in northern Greece on the right and feathers can be seen on one of the two large stone sphinxes (pictured left) which sit beneath a barrel-vault topping the entrance to its main chamber
Greek writer Plutarch said in a biography about Alexander the Great that his mother consorted with the priestess.


In it, he writes that Philip II dreamt that he closed Olympia's womb with a lion seal, which perhaps explains the lion statue thought to have been placed on top of the mysterious burial mound.


Experts agree that the ancient mound, situated around 65 miles (100km) from Thessaloniki, was built for a prominent Macedonian in around 300 to 325BC.




Clockwise from top right shows two headless, marble sphinxes found above the entrance to the barrel-vaulted tomb, details of the facade and the lower courses of the blocking wall, the antechamber's mosaic floor, a 4.2-metre long stone slab, and the upper uncovered sections of two female figures





Archaeologists unearthed two sculpted female figures, known as Caryatids, (pictured) as they dug deeper at the site in the northeast of Greece. The half-bodied statues made of marble have thick hair covering their shoulders and are wearing a sleeved tunic


 not just for Greece but for the entire Balkanic peninsula, and described it as being of 'global interest'.


Prime Minister Antonis Samaras added the discovery 'is clearly extremely important'.


Alexander, who started from the northern Greek region of Macedonia to build an empire stretching as far as India, died in 323 B.C. and was buried in Egypt.


His fellow royals were traditionally interred in a cemetery near Vergina, to the west, where the lavishly-furnished tomb of Alexander's father, Philip II, was discovered during the 1970s.


But archaeologists believe the Amphipolis grave, which is surrounded by a surprisingly long and well-built wall with courses of marble decorations, may have belonged to a senior ancient official.


Dr Peristeri argued the mound was originally topped by a large stone lion that was unearthed a century ago, and is now situated around 3 miles (5km) from the excavation site.


Geophysical teams have identified there are three main rooms within the huge circular structure.


In the past, the lion has been associated with Laomedon of Mytilene, one of Alexander's military commanders who became governor of Syria after the king's death.


A paper sponsored by Harvard University that was published 70 years ago hints that this might be the case and that Laomedon worked as a language interpreter and sentry during the king's Asian campaigns, GreekReporter.com said.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2951044/Tour-Amphipolis-tomb-Stunning-animation-reveals-former-splendour-grave-belong-Alexander-Great-mother.html#ixzz3Rk6K8Bhi 

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PostSubject: Mystery deepens over Amphipolis tomb    Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:13 am

Mystery deepens over Amphipolis tomb 


Posted by TANNArchaeoHeritage, Archaeology, Breakingnews, Europe, Greece, Southern Europe 7:30 PM


 A geologist who took part in the excavation of the ancient burial mound in Amphipolis in northern Greece says the ancient tomb found together with a series of vaulted rooms wasn't built at the same time, but somewhat later than the rooms themselves.






 The famed Lion of Amphipolis could not have been at the top of the tumulus at  Kasta hill according to geologist Evangelos Kambouroglou  [Credit: Ethnos] 


Geologist Evangelos Kambouroglou also said Saturday that the mound inside which the rooms and the tomb were found is not man-made, as archaeologists had assumed, but a natural hill.


 He also said that the Lion of Amphipolis, a huge sculpture of a lion on a pedestal , which is more than 25 feet (7.5 meters) tall, was too heavy to have stood at the top of the tomb, as archaeologists had claimed.


 "The walls (of the tomb structure) can barely withstand half a ton, not 1,500 tons that the Lion sculpture is estimated to weigh," Kambouroglou said.


 As for the box-like tomb that contained the remnants of five bodies, possibly more, "it is posterior to the main burial monument ... the main tomb has been destroyed by looters, who left nothing," said Kambouroglou. "The marble doors (of the monument) contain signs of heavy use, which means many visitors came and went."


 The vaulted rooms had been dated to between 325 B.C. - two years before the death of ancient Greek warrior-king Alexander the Great - and 300 B.C., although some archaeologists had claimed a later date.


 Katerina Peristeri, the chief archaeologist in the recent excavation, had advanced the theory that a member of Alexander's family, or one of his generals, could be buried in the tomb. But the discovery of the boxy grave and the five bodies cast doubt on that theory and Kambouroglou's announcement appears to disprove it entirely. Some archaeologists present during Saturday's announcement criticized Peristeri's absence and her methods.


 Alexander, who built an empire stretching from modern Greece to India, died in Babylon and was buried in the city of Alexandria, which he founded. The precise location of his tomb is one of the biggest mysteries of archaeology.


 His generals fought over the empire for years, during wars in which Alexander's mother, widow, son and half-brother were all murdered - most near Amphipolis. Author: Costas Kantouris | Source: The Associated Press [March 07, 2015]

Read more at: http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2015/03/mystery-deepens-over-amphipolis-tomb.html#.VQAwKfnF_Qg
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PostSubject: Amphipolis Tomb falls victim to lack of funding   Tue May 05, 2015 8:20 am

Amphipolis Tomb falls victim to lack of funding


 Posted by TANNArchaeoHeritage, Archaeology, Breakingnews, Europe, Greece, Heritage, Southern Europe 6:30 PM 


The Amphipolis tomb excavation site is in danger of being buried under the sand due to neglect and weather conditions, said Greek Deputy Minister of Culture Nikos Xydakis.






 The Amphipolis tomb discovery was one of the ten most important findings in the world in 2014. Now, the burial monument is at risk of being buried again, but this time to the knowledge of archaeologists. 


The major archaeological discovery in northern Greece cannot be opened for visitors at the moment as heavy rains have created stagnant ponds and forced mounts of dirt to cover most of the site. When water dries, the ground will be even more unstable. Water needs to be drained and a drainage system must be put in place.


 “The surrounding wall with wonderful marbles from Thasos needs drainage works urgently,” Xydakis said. Drainage works must be completed before autumn, when bad weather starts again.


 An emergency meeting took place between the excavation crew and culture ministry officials. A new geostationary study needs to be conducted in order to decide what precautionary measures to take to save the site. 


However, financial reasons do not allow the study to be done. And the geostationary study is essential before further, specific studies of stones, mortars, support methods and so on. Restoration of the monument at the moment is very difficult due to lack of funds for all the studies needed.


 Certain restoration procedures have taken place already, but further restoration studies and works need the approval of the Central Archaeological Council, other than the necessary funding. 


Author: A. Makris | Source: The Greek Reporter [May 04, 2015]

Read more at: http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2015/05/amphipolis-tomb-falls-victim-to.html#.VUi0wiFVhBc
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PostSubject: Sotheby’s auctions clay figurines 'from Amphipolis'    Tue Jun 16, 2015 6:31 pm

Sotheby’s auctions clay figurines 'from Amphipolis' 


Posted by TANNArchaeoHeritage, Archaeology, Breakingnews, Europe, Greece, Heritage, Southern Europe, USA 8:00 PM 


The interest around the ancient Greek tomb of Amphipolis may have decreased dramatically over the last months, however, the “brand name” created during the excavations and thanks to the mystery regarding the dead who were buried in Kasta hill, still manages to attract attention across Europe and the United States.






 Clay figurines of the God Attis from the 2nd century BC which originate,  according to Sotheby's House, from Amphipolis [Credit: Sotheby's] 


The experienced auction house Sotheby’s did not let the opportunity go to waste and around a week ago they put six clay figurines on sale. The figurines depict the ancient Greek god Attis, the adolescent consort of Kybele, who was self-castrated to escape her jealousy. The terracotta dates back to the 2nd century BC and according to the auction house, it originated from Amphipolis. 


“This cannot be confirmed,” noted Greek Alternate Culture Minister Nikos Xydakis, on the occasion of the repatriation of the illegally exported Hermes statue head, which was set for sale by Bohnams. The alternate minister’s statement was confirmed by an experienced archaeologist, who believes that the figurines are not characteristic of Amphipolis and therefore there is no reason for their connection with the region.


 Experts might not find any connection to the Amphipolis tomb, however, the fact that Sotherby’s sold the six terracotta figurines for $8,750 shows that the public is still fascinated by the discovery of the ancient Greek monument. 


Author: Ioanna Zikakou | Source: Greek Reporter [June 11, 2015]

Read more at: http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2015/06/sothebys-auctions-clay-figurines-from.html#.VYCjB_lVhBc
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PostSubject: A year on, no answers to Amphipolis tomb mystery   Sun Aug 16, 2015 6:10 pm

A year on, no answers to Amphipolis tomb mystery


 Posted by TANNArchaeoHeritage, Archaeology, Breakingnews, Europe, Greece, Southern Europe 10:00 PM


 A year after being hailed as one of Greece's greatest archaeological finds and a possible resting place of Alexander the Great, the largest tomb ever discovered in the country lies almost forgotten in the blazing summer sun.






 A sphinx discovered in the largest tomb ever unearthed in Amphipolis,  in Macedonia, northern Greece, on October 21, 2014  [Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture] 


The buzz of cicadas and wasps gives no hint that Amphipolis, some 60 kilometres (37 miles) from the northern city of Serres, drew a media stampede in August 2014 after authorities declared it a "unique" find.


 "No one works here any more. The project is frozen, like everything else in Greece," says a young guard, referring to the country's economic crisis that in addition to mass layoffs and revenue cuts has also hit spending on cultural projects.


 "We still don't know if the country is going to run out of money," he adds, refusing to give his name.


 At the time of its discovery, there was speculation that archaeologists had found the tomb of Alexander the Great (356 BC to 323 BC) -- or perhaps someone close to him like his mother Olympias or wife Roxana.


 But a room-by-room search of the massive box-like tomb has failed to give conclusive answers to date.


 Though the remains of an elderly woman were found  -- raising hopes it could be Alexander's mother -- the bones of two men, a newborn baby and animals including a horse were also discovered. 


Out of 550 bone fragments found, 157 had been matched to specific bodies so far -- including that of a fifth person whose sex has not been identified.


 Culture Minister Nikos Xydakis has publicly criticised the previous conservative administration over its handling of the excavation.


 "The way the excavation was carried out and (its) promotion...had elements of a show," Xydakis said in a televised interview in March.


 On Tuesday, the ministry said significant sums of money and time would be required to make the monument accessible to visitors.


 "The work required to protect, rehabilitate and highlight the monument is enormous," it said. 


The ministry said 200,000 euros ($220,000) had been earmarked after the excavation work was carried out, but the imposition of capital controls in June linked to the economic crisis has delayed the release of funds. 


As the scientific world awaits further clarification, a dispute has arisen over whether the tomb is actually Macedonian or was built under the Romans.






 A photo taken on August 5, 2015 shows a view of the site where archaeologists  unearthed last year a funeral mound dating from the time of Alexander the Great,  in Amphipolis, Northern Greece [Credit: AFP]


 No links to Alexander proven


  Leftist daily Avgi, the newspaper of the ruling Syriza party, on Sunday said a group of experts had dated the tomb to the first or second century BC -- up to 300 years after Alexander's death, and it dismissed efforts to link the monument to his family as a "fiasco".


The head archaeologist at Amphipolis, Katerina Peristeri, fired off an angry letter to the newspaper to defend her evaluation.


 "The tomb complex was built in the final quarter of the fourth century BC (325-300 BC)...and was used until Roman times," Peristeri said.


 "The Macedonians sealed it for protection in the second century BC," she said, adding that a full evaluation would be made in the autumn.


 The tomb, measuring 500 metres (1,640 feet) in circumference and dug into a 30-metre hill -- was found to contain sculptures of sphinxes and caryatids, intricate mosaics and coins featuring the face of Alexander the Great.


 Built on the banks of the river Strymon, Amphipolis was an important city of the ancient Macedonian kingdom under Alexander.


 Alexander built an empire stretching from modern Greece to India. He died in Babylon and was buried in the city of Alexandria, which he founded. The precise location of his tomb is one of the biggest mysteries of archaeology.


 The Amphipolis tomb's location was known in antiquity, and it is believed to have been repeatedly looted following the conquest of the ancient Macedonian kingdom by Rome in the second century BC.


 No funerary offerings were found, and the culture ministry has confirmed that even the single grave found inside the tomb had been searched.


 Historians had dismissed from the start the possibility that the tomb's occupant could be Alexander himself, who conquered the Persian empire and much of the known world before his death in Babylon at the age of 32 in 323 BC.


 Author: Vassilis Kyriakoulis | Source: AFP [August 13, 2015]

Read more at: http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2015/08/a-year-on-no-answers-to-amphipolis-tomb.html#.VdEIR_lVhBc
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PostSubject: Ancient Amphipolis Tomb was Commissioned by Alexander the Great for his Closest Friend and General, Hephaestion, New Evidence Shows   Thu Oct 01, 2015 11:11 pm




1 OCTOBER, 2015 - 16:37 APRILHOLLOWAY

Ancient Amphipolis Tomb was Commissioned by Alexander the Great for his Closest Friend and General, Hephaestion, New Evidence Shows


New evidence has emerged that the massive underground tomb in Amphipolis, Greece, which was hailed last year as the archaeological discovery of the decade, was commissioned by Alexander the Great for his close companion and general in his army, Hephaestion.


The Amphipolis Tomb, which lies within the Kasta Hill burial mound, approximately 100 kilometres east of Thessaloniki in Greece, captured worldwide attention last year when two marble sphinxes were found guarding its entrance. It lies in what was once the ancient city of Amphipolis, conquered by Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, in 357 BC, and dates back to the fourth century B.C. The tomb, measuring 500 metres (1,640 feet) in circumference, was found to contain sculptures of caryatids, an ornate mosaic, and coins featuring the face of Alexander the Great.


Head archaeologist Katerina Peristeri long suggested that the tomb may have been commissioned for a general in Alexander the Great’s army. However, the discovery of rosettes painted in blue, red, and yellow, which are similar to those found on the coffin from the tomb believed to belong to Philip II, Alexander the Great’s father, suggested that the tomb at Amphipolis may have instead belonged to a Macedonian royal, with the most popular theory pointing to Olympias, Alexander’s mother. 





Amphipolis Tomb by Greektoys.org (update) on Sketchfab.


New inscriptions found



Greek news site Ekathimerini reports that new evidence has emerged that may finally solve the mystery of the tomb’s original owner.


During a conference in Thessaloniki, Peristeri and her head architect Michalis Lefantzis announced that they found three inscriptions within the Amphipolis tomb with the monogram of Hephaestion, a general, and the closest friend of Alexander the Great. The inscriptions are project contracts for the construction of the monument.


According to the Greek Reporter, the inscriptions suggest that the monument was commissioned by a powerful individual of that era, and Peristeri maintains that individual may have been Alexander himself.





The monogram of Hephaestion found in three separate inscriptions within the Amphipolis tomb. Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture


Hephaestion, general in the army of Alexander the Great



Hephaestion was a Macedonian nobleman that grew up with Alexander, studying with him under the tutelage of Aristotle. They became close personal friends, as well as comrades. Hephaestion became a member of Alexander’s personal bodyguard and went on to command the Companion cavalry. He was entrusted with many important roles, including diplomatic missions, the bridging of major rivers, sieges and the foundation of new settlements.


When Hephaestion died suddenly in Ecbatana, Iran, in 324 BC, Alexander petitioned the oracle at Siwa to grant him divine status, and organized an elaborate funeral at Babylon, in which Hephaestion was said to have been cremated in the presence of the entire army. According to ancient historian Plutarch, Alexander then ordered a series of monuments to be built for Hephaestion across his empire. 





A painting by Charles Le Brun depicting Alexander and Hephaestion (in red cloak), facing Porus, during the Battle of the Hydaspes. 


While the Amphipolis monument may have been constructed in Hephaestions honor, Peristeri maintains that there is no evidence that Hephaestions remains were ever buried there. 


When a sarcophagus was finally uncovered within the Amphipolis tomb, archaeologists found a total of five skeletons – an elderly woman, two men, a newborn baby, and the cremated remains of an individual of unknown age and gender. 


The tomb is believed to have been in use from the fourth century BC until Roman times, and is known to have been looted in antiquity, so there is no way to know who those five individuals were.
 
Featured Image: Artistic representation of the caryatids in the Amphipolis tomb


By April Holloway


Read more: http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/ancient-amphipolis-tomb-was-commissioned-alexander-great-his-closest-friend-020551#ixzz3nNOCAMRz 

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PostSubject: New Revelations Reignite Debate About Owner of the Lavish Amphipolis Tomb   Fri Mar 04, 2016 12:15 am




3 MARCH, 2016 - 22:02 MARK MILLER

New Revelations Reignite Debate About Owner of the Lavish Amphipolis Tomb
(Read the article on one page)

A huge ancient burial mound theorized to have contained the remains of a friend and military general of Alexander the Great of Macedon may actually belong to someone else, new revelations show.


At 1,600 feet (488 meters) in circumference, the lavishly decorated tomb is the largest of its type known from the world of the ancient Greeks and dates to between 325 BC and 300 BC. Alexander the Great died in 323 BC.


A researcher says an inscription on a stone block is missing a pi or Π that the lead archaeologist on the dig says would have linked it to Hephaestion. Instead, according to author Andrew Chugg, it likely was the tomb of Alexander’s mother, Olympias. The bones of five people were unearthed in the tomb.




A ketch of the inscribed block presented by the Greek archaeologists (top) and Andrew Chugg's reconstruction from the 1970s photo shows how the Π of ΠΑΡΕΛΑΒΟΝ was cut off the block when it was shortened. (Andrew Chugg, American School of Classical Studies at Athens)


“Therefore the Amphipolis tomb must be that later project in which the stones were re-used. It is the tomb of somebody who died a few years after Alexander the Great and not the tomb or monument of Hephaestion, who pre-deceased him by seven months,” Chugg told Discovery. “The skeleton of a woman aged about 60, the correct age for Olympias, was found in a cist grave inside the tomb. It is likely that it will yield DNA, since it had not been cremated,” Chugg said.





The tomb is in Amphipolis, 100 km (62.14 miles) east of Thessaloniki in northern Greece. In 2014, archaeologists opened the tomb, which features decapitated sphinxes, large statues of women guarding the deceased, and beautiful floor mosaics.



The ancient city of Amphipolis was conquered by Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, in 357 BC, and dates back to the 4th century BC. The tomb contains sculptures of caryatids, an ornate mosaic, and coins featuring the face of Alexander the Great.


Archaeologist Katerina Peristeri, leader of the excavations, had long suggested that the tomb may have been commissioned for a general in Alexander the Great’s army. However, the discovery of rosettes painted in blue, red and yellow, which are similar to those found on the coffin from the tomb believed to belong to Philip II, Alexander the Great’s father, suggested that the tomb at Amphipolis may have instead belonged to a Macedonian royal, with the most popular theory pointing to Olympias, Alexander’s mother. 





I
mperial Roman gold medallion depicting Olympias, mother of Alexander the Great. (Public Domain)


In October 2015, Peristeri and her head architect, Michalis Lefantzis, announced that they found three inscriptions within the Amphipolis tomb with the monogram of Hephaestion, a general, and the closest friend of Alexander the Great. The inscriptions are project contracts for the construction of the monument. It was one of these inscriptions that had the missing Π sign.


“They left a blank space in their drawing. Everyone thought it meant the Π was simply not there on the stone of the block,” Chugg told Discovery News. These blocks had been stockpiled and were later rediscovered in the Strymon River.





Discovery says Chugg and Peristeri agree Alexander may have ordered the blocks cut for monuments to Hephaestion. But Chugg says after Alexander died, in 323 BC, his building projects were abandoned and the blocks and building material stockpiled.


While the Amphipolis monument may have been constructed in Hephaestion’s honor, Peristeri told Discovery News that there is no evidence that Hephaestion’s remains were ever buried there.




Painting titled “The Family of Darius III in front of Alexander the Great” by Justus Sustermans. (Public Domain) Hephaestion is seen pointing to Alexander.


When a sarcophagus was uncovered within the Amphipolis tomb, archaeologists found a total of five skeletons – an elderly woman, two men, a newborn baby, and the cremated remains of an individual of unknown age and gender. The tomb is believed to have been in use from the 4th century BC until Roman times and was looted in antiquity, so there is no way to know for sure who those five individuals were.


An annual conference on archaeological digs in Macedonia and Thrace is just days away, as of this writing. More details on the tomb and the burials will be revealed at the conference (link in Greek).


Featured Image:  The mosaic of the third chamber of the Amphipolis tomb, representing the Abduction of Persephone by Pluto. Source: Public Domain
By Mark Miller

- See more at: http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/new-revelations-re-ignite-debate-about-owner-lavish-amphipolis-tomb-005461?nopaging=1#sthash.u9DGll2C.dpuf
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PostSubject: New evidence for Amphipolis tomb   Mon Mar 14, 2016 8:53 am

New evidence for Amphipolis tomb


 presented Posted by TANNArchaeoHeritage, Archaeology, Breakingnews, Europe, Greece, Southern Europe 7:00 PM


 For the first time since the preliminary findings of the dig at Amphipolis were made public in 2013, Katerina Peristeri, head of the much debated excavation project, and several members of the Amphipolis excavation team presented their findings at the annual scientific conference on archaeological work in Macedonia and Thrace (AEMTH) held at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.






 According to Italian archaeologist Antonio Corso the frieze, the fragmentary frieze  which shows a man wearing a distinctive Macedonian helmet is a portrait  of Alexander the Great [Credit: CNN Greece] 


During her presentation, Katerina Peristeri reiterated her claims regarding the monument’s Thasian marble-made funerary peribolos, the Amphipolis Lion’s position on the tumulus’ top, the pebbled floor, the Sphinxes and their characteristics. She also presented a series of monuments and architectural elements from other sites which she considered to be morphologically and aesthetically similar to the Amphipolis monument, in order to support her proposed 4th cent. BC dating. Among those “parallels” were pebbled floors from several private houses at Pella and Caryatids found at the site of Svestari in Bulgaria.


 Ms. Peristeri also made reference to the skeletal remains found within the monument (belonging to a woman, a man, a child, and a cremated individual), the pottery finds (e.g. black glazed vessels, pointed amphoras), coins depicting Cassandros and Alaxander III and monograms of Antigonos Gonatas.


Following Ms. Peristeri, the project’s architect Michalis Lefantzis presented several fragmentary inscriptions found a few kilometres to the south of Amphipolis, one of which is thought to read: “I, Antigonus, received building material in order to raise a monument honouring Hephaistion…” 


The newest find was presented by Italian archaeologist Antonio Corso: several marble fragments of a frieze thought to come from the Lion’s base, found 120m. from the tumulus’ peribolos, at a site containing hundreds of burials. One fragment bears a relief representation of a warrior wearing a distinctive Macedonian helmet and holding a shield and a huge spear, while a horse’s head, a snake and part of a tree are also visible.


 According to Corso, the warrior’s representation can be identified with Alexander the Great (due to his hairstyle and posture) bearing the oversized armour of his friend and fellow fighter Hephaistion, the deceased hero.


 Corso’s suggestions, as well as some of the views expressed by Peristeri and her fellow researchers were not, however, accepted by all archaeologists and academics present at the conference.


 Source: ANA-MPA [March 09, 2016]

Read more at: http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2016/03/new-evidence-for-amphipolis-tomb.html#.VuayGfkrKUk
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PostSubject: Archaeologists May Have Identified 2nd Tomb at World-Famous Amphipolis Site   Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:23 am





28 NOVEMBER, 2016 - 14:35 THEODOROS KARASAVVAS

Archaeologists May Have Identified 2nd Tomb at World-Famous Amphipolis Site


(Read the article on one page)

Archaeologists believe they have identified a second monument at the famous Kasta Hill in Amphipolis, Greece, which made headlines around the world when a highly-decorated Macedonian tomb complex, possibly linked to Alexander the Great, was discovered in 2012. The results of geophysical prospecting, carried out by the Applied Geophysics Lab of the Aristotle University of Macedonia, revealed a structure two meters deep on the west side of the hill.


The Mystery of Tomb of Amphipolis



The ancient site of Amphipolis was discovered and described by many archaeologists during the 19th century, even though excavations didn’t really begin until after the Second World War. The Greek Archaeological Society under Dr. Lazaridis excavated in 1972 and 1985, uncovering a necropolis, the city wall, the basilicas, and the acropolis. Further excavations have since uncovered the river bridge, the gymnasium, Greek and Roman villas and many tombs. Parts of a lion monument and tombs were discovered during World War I by Bulgarian and British troops whilst digging trenches in the area.





Officers of the 2nd King's Shropshire Light Infantry with skulls excavated during the construction of trenches and dugouts at the ancient Greek site of Amphipolis, 1916. ( public domain )


The site became famous worldwide only recently, when in 2012 a team of Greek archaeologists excavated a huge tomb within Kasta Hill, the biggest burial mound ever found in Greece, northeast of Amphipolis. The tomb comprises three chambers separated by walls. There are two sphinxes just outside the entrance to the tomb. Two of the columns supporting the roof in the first section are in the form of Caryatids, in the 4th century BC style. The excavation uncovered a pebble mosaic depicting the abduction of Persephone by Hades directly behind the Caryatids and in front of the Macedonian marble door leading to the "third" chamber. Hades' chariot is drawn by two white horses and led to the underworld by Hermes. The mosaic verifies the Macedonian character of the tomb.


 


Artistic representation of the caryatids in the Amphipolis tomb, ©️ Gerasimos G. Gerolymatos.





Caryatid sculptures found within Amphipolis tomb in Greece. Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture


As the head of one of the sphinxes was found inside the tomb behind a broken door, it is clear that there were intruders, probably in antiquity. The identity of the burial remains a mystery and the excavation is continuing, even though many historians and archaeologists have claimed that the burial chamber couldn’t be that of Alexander the Great as it was built after his death. Nevertheless, it may contain the remains of one of his family members or a general who served in his army.





New Monument May Be “Laying” Under the Amphipolis Tomb Complex



The director of the Lab, Dr. Grigoris Tsokas claims that “targets” had been spotted west of the ruin that required a closer examination, “We have the distribution of resistance in a 3-dimensional depiction, and we can see that there is something there.


 We are speculating that is a second monument, a lot smaller (than the one already found), at a depth of about two meters, which must be explored”, he said at archaeology news network . Tsokas adds that there had been a full geophysical prospecting of the Casta Hill where a buried valley had been found, “The geophysical study of Casta was assigned to our Lab in 2014 and the University fully funded the project. We have already explored the hill and are processing the data collected, a difficult task due to the sheer volume, while there have been findings that warrant archaeological certification, which is why we are trying to find funds to continue”, the professor underlined. It’s also important to notice that a piece of coal find excavated at the foundations of the memorial showing that the monument goes back to 300 BC.


Top image: Kasta Hill, Amphipolis, Greece


By Theodoros Katasavvas
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