By Spiros Sideris – Athens
Archeologists are closer to solving the mystery of Amphipolis, after the discovery of a tomb with bones in the third chamber of the Tomb of Kasta. The tomb is large, box-shaped and according to estimates by the Ministry of Culture, the deceased must have been a prominent figure, since this is the only way to explain the construction of this unique burial complex.
According to the announcement, in the third chamber and at a depth of 1.60m it was revealed a large cist tomb made of limestone. Inside the tomb there a place in which was placed the wooden coffin with iron and copper nails around it, as well as bones and glass decorative elements of the coffin.
It should be noted that the total height of the third chamber from the top of the dome to the bottom of the tomb is 8,90m.
The skeleton of the dead found both inside and outside the grave, and the bones will undergo a DNA test by the specialists.
According to the announcement, the funerary complex on the hill castes is a public project, for the construction of which was used the largest amount of marble ever in Macedonia.
In more detail: The Tomb has a height of 33m, and on it used to stand the pedestal with the oversized lion, which is 15.84m in height. The sphinxes, the caryatids and beautiful mosaic with the abduction of Persephone, and the painted marble architraves, which, at this time, are being conserved in the laboratory of the Museum of Amphipolis. The height of the whole construction is unprecedented.
Experts point out that from these features alone, this monument is a unique and original synthesis of diverse characteristics. It is an extremely precise construction, the cost of which is obviously unlikely to have been undertaken by an individual.
Probably, this is monument of an “afiorismenos” dead, i.e. a mortal to whom religious values were attributed by the society of his time. The deceased was a prominent figure, as this is the only way to explain the construction of this unique burial complex.
In order to launch the reconstruction work, there is a systematic study of the scattered architectural parts, which have been identified and assigned to the compound. It is approximately 500 marble pieces, located in the surrounding area, where today is located the lion.
What’s impressive is that when a few days ago dropped the water level of lake Kerkini were revealed more than a hundred pieces of the precinct like cornices, pillars and coronations. They were transferred in 1936 from the company Ulen, which was responsible for the construction of the dam of Kerkini.
In the context of the archaeological research in the Tomb, there was an investigation and sampling of the sediments inside and outside the tomb, as well as a drilling check of its subsoil, to determine the bedrock. The precipitate consist of alternations of sand and marl, which originate from the lake.
In the coming days will be completed the screening of soil, the support works and the maintenance of the monument and of the findings in the laboratory of the Museum of Amphipolis will continue. Particular emphasis is given to the maintenance of the parts of the missing part of the mosaic.
From the Ministry of Culture it was announced that the geophysical study will be performed by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, in particular by the laboratory of Applied Geophysics, which is headed by Professor Gregory Tsokas, after a recommendation from the Rector Professor Pericles Mitkas. It should be noted that the Aristotle University made available to the Ministry of Culture not only its expertise, but also the resources of the University.
The methods that will be mainly used for the investigation of the Tomb of Kasta will be that of the electrical resistivity tomography, to the development of which the said laboratory has contributed significantly. The method consists of electrical imaging of the subsurface, similar to medical tomography. It has yielded results in the exploration of other tombs – eg. Apollonia, Kilkis, Vergina, Argolida, etc.)
On November 22, the Minister of Culture and Sport Mr. K. Tasoulas will be interviewed at the Museum of Amphipolis, at 13:00, on the findings and the next phase of the works on the tomb.
On November 29, at 11:00, the results of the excavation season at the hill of Kasta will be presented by the Ephor of Antiquities of Serres Ms. Peristeri and her colleagues, in Athens, in the Auditorium of the Ministry of Culture.