Tag Archives: Greece

Who is buried in the largest tomb ever found in northern Greece?

Excitement continues to build as archeologists dig deeper into a massive tomb discovered two years ago in northern Greece.

This past weekend the excavation team, led by Greek archaeologist Katerina Peristeri, announced the discovery of two elegant caryatids—large marble columns sculpted in the shape of women with outstretched arms—that may have been intended to bar intruders from entering the tomb’s main room. “I don’t know of anything quite like them,” says Philip Freeman, a professor of classics at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

The curly-haired caryatids are just part of the tomb’s remarkable furnishings. Guarding the door as sentinels were a pair of carved stone sphinxes, mythological creatures with the body of a lion and the head of a human. And when archaeologists finally entered the antechamber, they discovered faded remnants of frescoes as well as a mosaic floor made of white marble pieces inlaid in a red background.

Archeologists believe this tomb is connected somehow to Alexander the Great and could very well be the burial site of one of his relatives or close allies. They will not know more until they actually enter the tomb.

Giant Greek tomb discovered

Archeologists have uncovered the largest tomb ever discovered in Greece and think it is linked to the reign of Alexander the Great.

The tomb, dating to around 300 BC, may have held the body of one of Alexander’s generals or a member of his family. It was found beneath a huge burial mound near the ancient site of Amphipolis in northern Greece. Antonis Samaras, Greece’s prime minister, visited the dig on Tuesday and described the discovery as “clearly extremely significant”.

A broad, five-yard wide road led up to the tomb, the entrance of which was flanked by two carved sphinxes. It was encircled by a 500 yard long marble outer wall. Experts believe a 16ft tall lion sculpture previously discovered nearby once stood on top of the tomb.

The excavations began in 2012, and by this month hope to identify who actually was buried there.

Ancient Greek ships shipped more than just wine

New data has shown that ancient Greek merchant ships transported a wide assortment of goods, not just wine.

What is interesting about this story is how it punctures a hole in an assumption too many archeologists have been making about the amphorae, the standard shipping container of the ancient Mediterranean:

Amphorae have been found in their thousands in wrecks all over the Mediterranean Sea. Some of them contain residues of food, such as olive pits and fish bones, but the vast majority of them are discovered empty and unmarked. Foley says historians tend to assume that these containers were used mainly to transport wine — in a survey of 27 peer-reviewed studies describing 5,860 amphorae, he found that 95% of the jars were described as having carried the beverage.

The new research found evidence for many things besides wine, illustrating again the dangers of assuming anything in science.