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Archaeologists are closer to the tomb of Alexander the Great

11 August 2014 / 13:08:22  GRReporter
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The archaeological excavations carried out at the unique Kasta tumulus in the ancient city of Amphipolis are close to the discovery of an important tomb. There has been a commotion in the area that a significant number of police officers have been guarding over the past few days and according to sources, the Ministry of Culture is aware of the developments.

The arising questions are many. Is this really a big royal tomb? Catherine Peristeri, head of the service for ancient and classical monuments, in turn is completely silent on the matter but informs on a daily basis the Ministry of Culture on all her archaeological discoveries.
 
According to the data presented by Catherine Peristeri in March during the 27th Scientific Archaeological Meeting at "Aristotle" University of Thessaloniki, the Kasta tumulus excavations over the past two years have uncovered a mound complex, unique in the world because of its size, which is nearly 500 metres - 3 metres high and 497 metres long in total, and because of its accurate proportions.

After the allocation of 100,000 euro from the Ministry of Culture the excavations that had stopped in the winter period were resumed in June, by first removing tons of soil that covered the Kasta hill and subsequently uncovering an impressive tomb that dates back to the last quarter of the 4th century BC.

As noted by Catherine Peristeri at the 27th Scientific Archaeological Meeting, "Important historical events happened near Amphipolis at the time to which the tomb dates back, after the death of Alexander the Great to the end of the 4th century BC. Prominent generals and admirals of Alexander the Great were associated with the area. Here Cassander exiled and killed in 311 BC Alexander the Great’s legal wife Roxana and his son Alexander IV."

The tumulus dates back to around 325-300 BC and seems to be the work of famous architect of the time Dinokrat who, according to historical records, was a close friend of Alexander the Great.

The tomb was built of marble brought from the island of Thassos onboard special ships and the marble slabs were placed with special cranes made ​​of wood, iron and lead, traces of which were found during the excavations. According to archaeological research, much of the tomb was demolished in the Roman era, which is why a large number of marble architectural elements are not in place. A more comprehensive piece of research conducted in the area of Amphipolis in an attempt to find the missing architectural elements took Catherine Peristeri and her colleagues to the area around the famous monument of the Lion of Amphipolis, where they discovered the lost marble parts, scattered or built in the monument. The dating of the monument and the tomb coincides, i.e. the last quarter of the 4th century BC.

"After the discovery of the tomb in Kasta our study proves that the monument of the lion was associated with the tomb that was its foundation in practice. It was placed on top of the tomb, based on the geometry of the mound complex", notes archaeologist Catherine Peristeri.

Presenting excavation data that contain archaeological evidence on how and where the monument of the Lion of Amphipolis was built, internationally recognized architect Michalis Lefantzis stresses that the parts of the mound complex that are lost today formed part of the foundation of the monument and the slope of the marble slabs proves that it was an integral part of the large mound complex.

At the same time, according to architect Lefantzis, it has been proven that the famous Lion of Amphipolis, which is 5.20 metres high, was placed on top of the tomb in Kasta, on a marble plinth and the marble was brought from the island of Thassos. According to the architect, the Lion of Amphipolis was made ​​on the spot but the name of its sculptor is not yet known.

Tags: TombAlexander the GreatAmphipolisArchaeological excavations
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