At a gigantic tomb site in northern Greece, which archaeologists began excavating two years ago, a pair of headless sphinxes – each weighing in at one and a half tons and some two metres high – have been revealed through the removal from the tomb’s sealing wall of some big pieces of rubble.
It is thought that these two beasts were set in place as guardians the burial, the largest tomb ever uncovered in Greece, dating back to the end of the reign of warrior-king Alexander the Great, around 325-300 B.C. Located within the Macedonian ancient city of Amphipolis, some 65 miles from Thessaloniki, this city was an Athenian colony conquered by Alexander’s father in 357 B.C.
Philip II of Macedon was the father of the iconic Alexander, and Amphipolis is the place in which some now believe the tomb of Alexander lies. This site excavation has revealed a 1,600 ft wide circular tomb with a 10 ft high wall around it, contructed with marble obtained from Thassos island.
It is speculated that the architect and builder of this monumental tomb site was one Dinocrates, a close friend of Alexander. What makes some believe that this could in fact be the resting place of Alexander himself is the fact that this tomb is many times the size of that of Philip II of Macedon, found in the 1970s at Vergina in central Macedonia.
Another clue to the importance of the personage to whom this tomb was devoted was discovered through the work of Katerina Peristeri, lead archaeologist, who demonstrated that an impressive marble lion statue – 16 ft in height and currently sited 3 miles away- in fact was once the crowning centrepiece.
A great deal of this magnificent edifice was in fact destroyed when Roman occupation forces moved in, marble blocks re-used to stabilize a nearby river banking. At the rear of the two sphinxes was a mosaic floor featuring black and white rhombus shapes, though the three rooms beyond them remain undisturbed for the time being.
Peristeri is planning a full breach of these mysterious rooms in the near future, though she stresses that she does not believe it to be the burial site of Alexander the Great himself, but possibly a senior military figure of those times. She further commented that it is known that the great man, only 32 at the time, died at Babylon, now in central Iraq, in June of 323 B.C., and indeed that the location of his tomb – one of the great unsolved mysteries of history – may never in fact be found.
Image via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_the_Great#mediaviewer/File:AlexanderTheGreat_Bust.jpg
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