Archaeologists in Greece find two large marble statues at ancient tomb with possible link to Alexander the Great.
Archaeologists excavating a burial mound in northern Greece have found two marble sculptures of female figures and a large, coloured marble panel in what appears to be the antechamber of the main room.
Archaeologists believe the tomb in the town of Amphipolisis could be connected with the reign of the warrior-king Alexander the Great, who conquered vast areas of the ancient world between Greece and India.
It dates between 325 B.C. – two years before Alexander’s death – and 300 B.C. There is some speculation that one of his relatives or generals might be buried there. Experts have ruled out the possibility that the tomb could be that of Alexander — the emperor is believed to have been buried in Egypt after he is thought to have died of a fever in Babylon in 323BC.
The 60-centimetre female figurines are on a wall leading to the yet unexplored main room. The marble panel, 4.2 metres long by one metre wide, is carved with geometric shapes and painted dark red and yellow. It is located up a wall in the 6.5-metre high antechamber.
The tomb was found in Greece’s northern Macedonia region, from where Alexander began to forge his empire.
A 4.5-metre-wide road leads up to the tomb, the entrance of which is flanked by two carved sphinxes and encircled by a 457-metre-long marble wall. Experts believe an approximately five-metre-tall lion sculpture previously discovered nearby would have once been placed on top of the tomb.
“The land of Macedonia continues to move and surprise us, revealing from deep within its unique treasures, which combine to form the unique mosaic of Greek history of which all Greeks are very proud,” said Antonis Samaras, Greece’s prime minister during a visit to the tomb earlier last month.
Samaras described the discovery as “clearly extremely significant.”
Catherine Peristeri, ead of the ancient monuments department in northern Greece, said that some of Alexander’s generals and admirals had links to the area around the city of Amphipolis. It was also the place where his wife, Roxana, and son, were killed in 311BC on the orderes of Cassander, a Macedonian general who fought over the empire after Alexander the Great’s death.
Situated about 100 kilometres north-east of Greece’s second-biggest city, Thessaloniki, the tomb appears to be the largest ever discovered in Greece, and probably belonged to “a prominent Macedonian of that era,” a culture ministry official said.
The tomb, which consists of decorative white marble and frescoed walls, was partially destroyed during the Roman occupation of Greece.
Amphipolis was founded in 437 BC as an Athenian colony, but was conquered by Philip II of Macedon, Alexander’s father, in 357 BC.
Alexander the Great single-handedly changed the history of the ancient world with a lightning pace of conquest.