Famous tomb of Alexander languishes due to Greek crisis
A year after being hailed as one of Greece’s greatest archaeological finds, the largest tomb ever discovered in the country lies almost forgotten. At the time of its discovery, there was speculation that archaeologists had found the tomb of Alexander the Great (356 -323 BCE) or perhaps someone close to him such as his mother Olympias or wife Roxana. But a room-by-room search of the massive box-like tomb has failed to give conclusive answers to date. While clarification on the contents is still wanted, a dispute has arisen over the date of the tomb: is it actually Macedonian or built under the Romans? Head archaeologist, Katerina Peristeri, confirms that the tomb complex was built in the final quarter of the fourth century
BCE, and was used until Roman times. “The Macedonians sealed it for protection in the second
century BCE” she said, adding that a full evaluation would be made in the autumn. The tomb, measuring 500 metres in circumference and dug into a 30-metre hill, was found to contain sculptures of sphinxes and caryatids, intricate mosaics and coins featuring the face of Alexander the Great.
Built on the banks of the river Strymon, Amphipolis was an important city of the ancient Macedonian kingdom under Alexander. Alexander built an empire stretching from modern Greece to India. He died in Babylon in 323 BCE at the age of 32 and was buried in the city of Alexandria, which he founded. The precise location of his tomb is one of the biggest mysteries of archaeology. The Amphipolis tomb’s location was known in antiquity, and it is believed to have been repeatedly looted following the conquest of the ancient Macedonian kingdom by Rome in the second century BCE. On 11 August 2015, the ministry said significant sums of money and time would be required to make the monument accessible to visitors.
Below: The site of Amphipolis lies abandoned