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New findings from the excavations in Amphipolis

29 November 2014 / 22:11:08  GRReporter
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At a discussion today in the amphitheatre of the Ministry of Culture, the team leader of the excavations at Casta hill in Amphipolis Katerina Peristeri made new revelations around the skeleton in the tomb.

After some pressure from journalists, the archaeologist showed pictures of the skeleton, explaining that it was damaged. She said that Amphipolis had been looted by treasure hunters in ancient times as well: the fact that initially the space in front of the stairs was open, and then closed, is proof of this. "Therefore, the tomb was open to visitors", stressed Peristeri.

Responding to questions about the identity of the person buried in the tomb, Katerina Peristeri explained that there is evidence of Alexander the Great’s desire to create a large monument. The head of excavations added that someone important was buried in the tomb, otherwise "they wouldn’t put a lion on top." She replied vaguely to the question whether only one person was buried in Amphipolis by saying: "we have only found one."

Commenting on an earlier statement that a Macedonian general was buried in Amphipolis, Peristeri emphasised:

"When you previously asked me, I said that, given this lion on top and the huge size of the tomb, the one buried inside could be a Macedonian general. When the skeleton was found, no archaeologist could say whether it belonged to a man or to a woman. It was in an atrocious condition. What I said was based on the monument itself. I only said that when there is a lion on top, it could have been a general’s tomb. I won’t discuss conspiracy theories about Alexander of Macedon being buried there", said Peristeri.

The face of the caryatid was damaged by a beam

According to the archaeologist, a beam from the architrave, located behind the caryatids, had destroyed the face of the right one.

She explained that in the 3rd century AD the Romans destroyed the tomb’s fence. "Traces of an ancient crane were found, which was used to remove the fence in pieces, which were subsequently used for other purposes", noted Peristeri, adding that part of the fence, with a length of 80 metres, was found intact. The entire fence was 497 m long.

Parts of the lion’s original pedestal are preserved, and they are identical with the fence elements.

The discussion was hosted by the Professor Emeritus of Classical Archaeology in the University of Athens Vassilis Lambrinoudakis and by the archaeologist and director of the Museum of Cycladic Art Nicholas Stampolidis. Many journalists from Greek and foreign media attended the event.

Tags: Amphipolis tomb skeleton Katerina Peristeri
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