Discovery of twenty burials in Greece may be linked to Macedonian kings
A Greek archaeologist has announced the discovery of 20 burials near Macedonia’s ancient capital in northern Greece. Researchers are hoping that the graves are associated with the early Macedonian kings.
The tombs were found at Vergina, a town in Northern Greece identified as Aegae (Aigai) - the first capital of the Macedonians. The town became internationally famous in 1977, when the Greek archaeologist Manolis Andronikos unearthed the burial site of the kings of Macedon, including the tomb of Philip II, father of Alexander the Great. This view is challenged by some archaeologists who believe it may instead be the tomb of Alexander’s half-brother Philip III Arrhidaeus.
The unplundered tomb dating from 335 BC, displayed the golden larnax with the star symbol of the Macedonian kings, known from Macedonian shields and coins, decorating its cover: sixteen rays of different length around a central rosette. Inside the larnax were found human remains covered with a golden wreath of oak leaves. Other finds in the chamber included an iron breastplate, ceremonial shield, iron Macedonian helmet, the royal diadem, and weapons.
Archaeologists have been interested in the hills around Vergina since as early as the 1850s and the site still draws researchers and experts to this day. The latest discovery shows that there is still much that the town has to offer.
Excavator Angeliki Kottaridi said that the tombs had been looted and largely dismantled in antiquity. However, researchers did find vases and a sword and it is hoped that further study may reveal the owners of the tomb, which Kottaridi said “might perhaps be linked” with Alexander I and his son, Perdiccas II. Both reigned in the 5th century BC, a century before the most famous ancient Macedonian king, Alexander III the Great.
Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient Greek kingdom that flourished from 808 to 167 BC. The rise of Macedon, from a small kingdom at the periphery of Classical Greek affairs, to one which came to dominate the entire Hellenic world, occurred under Philip II’s reign. For a brief period, after the conquests of Alexander the Great, it became the most powerful state in the world, controlling a territory that included the former Persian Empire, stretching as far as the Indus River; at that time it inaugurated the Hellenistic period of Ancient Greek civilization.
Featured image: Facade of Philip II of Macedon tomb in Vergina, Greece, discovered in 1977. Photo credit: Wikipedia