By Spiros Sideris – Athens
Since archaeologists in Amphipolis have unearthed the Caryatids, the great art had caused excitement. Now, however, the greatness of the two sculptures was revealed in all its splendor, after the removal of three rows of the sealing limestone wall in front of the second septal wall of the tomb.
The two caryatids height 2.27 m. They are wearing a long tunics and long fringed robes with rich folds, they bear cothurnus, which are decorated with red and yellow color, while the fingertips of their feet have been depicted with great detail.
As stated in the new announcement of the Ministry of Culture, the caryatids are standing on marble pedestals with a length of 1.33 m. and width 0.68 m., which have been revealed, for the moment, at a height of about 0.30 meters. The facet of the pedestals is formed with coronations and stanchions. In fact, they match the type of marble lining of the walls of all the compartments. The distance between the two pedestals is 1.68 m., the same as the door opening of the first septal wall with the Sphinxes. On the surface of the base of the eastern Caryatid, one can discern red color. Also, when removing the sandy backfill near the Caryatids, parts of their hands were found.
The full disclosure of Caryatids is not the only new find, as on the third chamber a marble doorway was detected, 0.96 m in width, on its northern wall, after the drilling test examination conducted by manual drilling.
Earlier, Lina Mendoni stated that there is strong evidence for a fourth chamber in the monument. The Secretary General of the Culture Ministry, speaking on Sunday morning on the show “Mega Weekend”, emphasized that the findings of the monument “will be discussed for many years in the international archaeological community”.
Along with the revelation of the Caryatids continue the works on the support of the second chamber, as archaeologists prepare to enter the third chamber of the monument.
The interdisciplinary team decided not to attempt to enter from the hole on the upper western part of the third septal wall, but rather from the ancient entrance. This means that before anything else happens, the second backfill should be removed from the second room, remove the fallen part of the lintel and support the doorway between the second and third chamber with wooden elements.
At the same time, support of the second room will be enhanced, in a lower level in order to cope with additional external pressures after the removal of the backfill. At the same time, the excavators remove soil from the second chamber to be able to put bigger shoring beams in the third chamber, while additional stones will be removed from the sealing wall, in front of the Caryatids, for the installation of the tape conveyor and the bridge crane for transferring stone blocks from the third chamber.
The team took measurements of the ratio of air inside the third chamber and showed that the content in elements of oxygen and carbon monoxide is normal. Only the relative humidity (87%) is elevated, while the temperature ranges from 21.5 – 22.7 Celcius. This means that there will be no problems for the workers inside.