Skeleton found inside Limestone Sarcophagus in Amphipolis Tomb

BREAKING NEWS: Skeleton found inside Limestone Sarcophagus in Amphipolis Tomb

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It is the moment that archaeologists and history buffs around the world have been waiting for; after months of intensive excavations within the 4th century BC Amphipolis tomb in northern Greece, and speculations regarding its owner, human remains have finally been discovered within a sarcophagus in a secret vault beneath the third chamber of the tomb.

The vault was discovered in the Amphipolis tomb earlier this month when archaeologists finished clearing away the debris from the floor of the third chamber. The vault, measuring 4 by 2.1 meters was sealed with limestone. According to an announcement on Mega TV News , after removing the limestone and digging down approximately 1.6 meters, researchers discovered a large limestone sarcophagus, measuring 3.2 by 1.6 meters.

Within the limestone box there had once been a wooden coffin (now disintegrated), which had been sealed with iron and bronze nails. Bone and glass decorative elements and skeletal remains were found both within and outside the limestone sarcophagus.

The limestone sarcophagus found in a secret vault beneath the third chamber - Amphipolis tomb

The limestone sarcophagus found in a secret vault beneath the third chamber of the Amphipolis tomb . Credit: ANA-MPA

The Ministry of Culture in Greece announced that the hidden burial compound in the Amphipolis tomb provides further evidence that the deceased was a prominent figure. The remains will now be examined by specialist scientists in an attempt to unravel its identity.

All evidence uncovered so far points to the tomb’s owner as being a Macedonian royal, related to Alexander the Great, with the most popular theory pointing to Olympias, Alexander’s mother.  Archaeologists are already calling the Amphipolis tomb ‘the discovery of the decade’.

UPDATE 13th November, 2014

Dr Poulianos , member of the Board of European Anthropologists and author of Ancient Origins, has provided the following update on the discovery:

“The discovery of bones both inside and outside the tomb shows that it was looted,  probably from the time of the Roman Empire. It is not impossible that the looting continued later in the Middle Ages or by the English in 1916 and the Germans in 1941.”

“Since the entire skeleton (especially the bones of the pelvis) have been found, the determination of whether the remains belonged to a man or woman should only be a matter of  seconds.”

Broken face of caryatid:

“During the Middle and/or Late Roman period, it was customary to cut noses and genitals off the statues, unfortunately mainly Greek statues. This vandalism was probably intended to prove that the gods are not gods, which otherwise would react by punishing the perpetrators.  This practice could be related to pre-Christian shaming punishment carried out in the Middle East, which was the cutting of the nose of living people (for stealing, adultery, murder, etc.). The sight of such a punishment must have been abhorrent and the victims (even if they had not been proven guilty ), were then forced to hide for the rest of their lives.”

Featured image: A sketch of the limestone sarcophagus found beneath the floor of the third chamber of the Amphipolis Tomb in northern Greece. Credit: ANA-MPA

By April Holloway


Canis Lupus of Finland's picture

Really fast reportage!

Very interesting news. Keep on the good work April ;)

Tsurugi's picture

Skeletal remains were found within the stone sarcophagus, but outside the wooden coffin...?

Yes. Other news reports stated the wooden coffin was gone due to deterioration, something this report omitted.

Yes outside the coffin, if you read the link provided you would know that the archaeologists made it clear that the wooden coffin disintegrated after 2500years. That is why the ivory and bronze nails survived because it doesn't disintergrate over time; nor do human skeletons.

aprilholloway's picture

Hello Tsurugi, this has now been adjusted in the article. The wooden coffin had disintegrated and the skeleton was found both within and outside the limestone box. 

the... 'archaeological' discovery of the century, that is.

DeAegean's picture

I'm hoping that I don't get unearthed one day when i'm ancient history..

ChrisD's picture

you'll have no brain to hope with when you are mere dust, so why worrry about what you'll never know about?


The thing about being dead is that you don't feel anything, whether unearthed or staying under! :)

Tsurugi's picture

Really? I'm totally the opposite. I've been trying to come up with various schemes to ensure I get unearthed, but not until I'm ancient history(say 10k years at minimum). I plan to have a few choice items entombed along with me, chosen for high tech and long term durability.
If future archaeology treats their ancient past like present archaeology does, I should be an extremely controversial discovery, lol.

My goal is to be an OOPArt, basically. XD

ChrisD's picture

Excellent news. Have been tracking this ever since the discovery was made....

Thankyou for keeping up bang up to date on proceedings.

I'm not this body.

Much as I have a strong interest in archeological finds, the line between what is considered archeology as opposed to desecration/grave-robbing seems arbitrary. Seems like it comes down to whatever is sanctioned by the state.

One other thing this article left out, the Chief Archaeologist of the Amphipolis site Katerina Perisiteri said yesterday " in all probablility the skeleton is a male and a general".

rbflooringinstall's picture

This is awesome!! I really appreciate the opportunity to watch such an extraordinary event unfold.

Peace and Love,


Funny that the submitted photo is after the removal of the skeleton. Like reporting on a car accident and not showing the vehicles!

you mean "not showing the bodies"....newscasts (usually) spare us the blood and gore and only show us the crash and the site.

Alexander the Great's admiral Nearchus had strong connections with Amphipolis. It is probably him! Nearchus had found Astola, 12 miles offshore from Kalami and still the center of a sun-worshipping society. He also wrote a detailed narrative of his expedition, of which a full abstract was embodied by Arrian in his Indica - one of the most interesting geographical treatises of antiquity. It is lost. He probably wrote it at Amphipolis.

rbflooringinstall's picture

Excellent! Thank you for such speedy reports on this. Keep up the good work.

Peace and Love,


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