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Two Caryatids found in Amphipolis tomb

07 September 2014 / 19:09:29  GRReporter
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The work of the archaeological group led by Catherine Peristeri to remove sand embankments on Kasta hill in the ancient city of Amphipolis is continuing at a fast pace. Parallel to this, activities are continuing to strengthen the components inside the tomb in order to continue excavations in the safest way.

On Friday, September 5th, the soil behind the second partition wall was removed to balance geostatic impulses of the ground between the two spaces. The removal of the soil revealed a 4.2 m long, 1 m wide, and 0.21 m thick marble rectangular plate in excellent condition (photo 1), located about 2 metres from the dome and 4.5 metres from the floor. At the bottom of the plate there is decoration in blue, red and yellow, depicting panels with a rosette in the centre (photos 3 and 4). This is part of the roof of the space.

In the same space, between the second and the third partition walls, significant damage to the stones in the western and the eastern part of the dome is found.
Works are being undertaken, using steel tubular beams, to strengthen the second partition wall that has an architrave, a cornice and a wooden structure.
It was found that the vertical part of the architrave extends over the entire length and is bilateral. In the space in front of the architrave, a triangular metal frame has been placed in parallel with the south side. The architrave is fortified on four sides with supports mounted on a metal frame.
On Saturday, September 5th, the removal of soil in front of the architrave allowed for reinforcement of the supports for the broken section with vertical tubular beams.

With the removal of the sandy soil, in the space in front of the second partition wall, two artfully crafted caryatids of Thassian marble were discovered, under the marble architrave, between marble pilasters.

The face of the west Caryatid is preserved almost intact, while that of the eastern one is missing. The Caryatids have curls covering their shoulders and are dressed in tunics. The right hand of one of them and the left hand of the other one are stretched to symbolically prevent attempts to enter the tomb. The same technique is followed as in the heads and the wings of sphinxes. The forms, in which there are traces of red and blue, remind us of the style of Kore. Amongst the sandy soils are found fragments of sculpture, such as a part of the palm and smaller fragments of the fingers. The discovery of the second entrance with the Caryatids is an important finding that supports the idea that the monument has special importance.

Before the caryatids, at the height of the smalls of their backs, a 4.5-metre wide sealed limestone wall was revealed. This is the second similar wall, following the same technique as in the front of the tomb. It is another attempt by the builders of the monument to prevent entry.

Simultaneously, the interest of tourists visiting Kasta hill, who want to see the tomb even from a distance, is not decreasing. Police forces in the area have doubled, and police officers from Serres are on 24-hour shifts. As the mayor of Amphipolis, Kostas Melitos, explained, on Monday the place would be illuminated with a special generator provided by the municipality to protect the archaeological site, not only from curious people, and during evening hours.

On Thursday, September 4th, a meeting was held at the workspace on Kasta hill, with the Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, Lina Mendoni, the interdisciplinary team headed by Catherine Peristeri, and employees of the Ancient Monuments Directorate with the Ministry of Culture.
An overall assessment considered the measures taken to protect the monument, after the pouring rain of the last 24 hours, to be very satisfactory.

Tags: tomb Amphipolis archaeological excavations Caryatids
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