BREAKING NEWS: Skeleton found inside Limestone Sarcophagus in Amphipolis Tomb
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 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