Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Drangiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria on the Indus - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Caryatids inside the Tomb of Amphipolis!

While the seemingly endless discussions about this tomb being looted or not are still going on, I rather focus on what has been achieved recently.

The Greek Ministry of Culture has released a new press statement over the weekend about the Tomb of Amphipolis and it seems that the room behind the outer entrance wall with the guarding sphinxes has been entirely cleared. The entire floor of which we saw just a hint last week has been exposed and looks really grand with the shards of white marble from Thassos on a red background. A true red carpet! The ceiling held another surprise: a beautiful rosette with traces of red, yellow and blue paint.

The wall at the other end of this room, the top of which was already revealed last week, has surprised us with two large marble caryatids flanking the entrance to the second room still to be disclosed. The face of the caryatid on the west side is nearly intact, while the eastern one is missing her face. The features are quite delicate and very uncommon. Curls hang down over their shoulders and they are dressed in sleeved dresses – a rather exceptional detail. Somehow they remind of Kore statues with traces of blue and red paint, but their posture and sleeves seem to indicate that they might be of a date later than the fourth century BC as suggested so far.

A first peep into the passage behind the caryatids lead experts to believe there is a kind of “false ceiling” underneath the vault, made of limestone slabs decorated with painted blocks imitating a coffered ceiling.

It seems we are in for more surprises and definitely more questions.

27 comments:

  1. Hypothetical reconstruction of Amphipolis Tomb

    http://panaiotis.deviantart.com/art/Amphipolis-Tomb-481138628

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  2. I do not understand what the function of this stone slab ( http://www.yppo.gr/2/g2001.jsp?mult_id=14839 ) It's one of those that were part of the false ceiling of which you speak in the second chamber. As it seems, painted rosettes of the photos would be at the bottom of the slab or in the top of the vault in the first chamber. So who blocked the second chamber with sand, climbed above the false ceiling and had to break it to throw sand¿?
    Why is there a wall in front of the caryatids?
    Every time I understand less what I see, I need a more general picture. What we see through this gap (http://www.yppo.gr/2/g2001.jsp?mult_id=14839) is the final burial chamber? If so, archaeologists may already know if it is intact.
    Ok, patient, many questions.
    (Sorry, I do not know greek and the translator is ... well, not too good and my english either)

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  3. Assuming the archaeologists are correct (the openings were used to access each chamber and seal them with sand) it may have served as a corridor to go from one chamber to another and for filling them with sand from the top. The painted rosettes are under the slab.

    Why is there a wall before the caryatids? Well, the 2nd chamber isn't yet empty of sand and they haven't reached the level of the floor yet. Naturally, at the level of the floor there should be a door/entrance (that what they say they expect). Accroding to the press statement the assumption is that the wall will block the door/entrance, as that is part of the sealing process.

    What you see in the final picture you refer to is a third chamber. The only info about the room behind is that it leads to one more wall, which also has a hole, as the ones we already have seen. Access in that chamber is still difficult (link below).

    http://news247.gr/eidiseis/koinonia/g_g_politismou_lina_mendwnh_yparxei_ki_allh_eisodos_sto_mnhmeio_ths_amfipolhs_enisxuetai_h_shmantikothta.3013553.html

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    1. Many Thanks!!! Now everything is clearer.

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  4. The block that fits the hole of the second septal wall clearly fell outwards and You can see it on the first pictures which were took when it was discovered. This block was torn away, so the theory of the filling of sand with deliberately opened holes does not thus seem to me very credible. But if it is about a hole made by a looter, it is necessarily the looter who visited the grave after it had been filled with sand because he was able to dig the hole only by crawling over the filling level. But as the grave was filled with sand after the damages on statues are made, then this grave was plundered at least twice: the first time by the soldiers of Macédonicus, the second after Macedonicus has, for motives which we do not know still, decided to seal it again.

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  5. Some thoughts on the sealing of the tomb on the blog of Dr. Dorothy King.
    http://phdiva.blogspot.ca/2014/09/amphipolis-walling-up.html

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  6. Thanks. excellent analysis. So the grave has been plundered twice. The first time they broke the sphinxes heads and wings the caryatids arms but maybe they did not loot it because it was only a political act - but the greediness of Macedonicus is legendary. The second time they drilled the very holes at the upper left side of the septal walls and crawled toward the Royal chambers and looted it or tried to loot it. Now, let's wait for the archaeologists to go further in the third room.

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  7. It continues to be extremely rare, looters refills sand again until the level of the key stone of the vault in the first chamber. This is possible but not very well understood the reasons, to rebuild the wall in front of the Sphinx would have been enough

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  8. Sounds more like a detective story than an archaeological excavation. The tension keeps rising, and so are our hopes to find something interesting in this looted or unlooted tomb. We cannot go to the end of the book to read the outcome, so more patience is required. Unfortunately this means more speculations, more pros and cons - good or bad ...?

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  9. I really begin to ask questions as for the interventions of the archaeologists in the press, in particular Madam Lena Mendoni's comments who seems to want to reaffirm the thesis of the non-plundered grave. Is it about an objective report or a trick attempting to keep-on the interest of the media on major TV-Channels for ideological and political reasons? Read it:

    "The missing face of one of the Caryatids is due to aging or from blocks of stones that fell on the statue", stated the archaeologist and general secretary of the Ministry, Lena Mendoni, to major TV channel.This means that the Tomb might have not been looted."

    http://www.theamphipolistomb.com/news/6

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    1. Aren't you tired of all these contradictory statements? I find it rather disappointing that archaeologists and historians dare writing such blunders! I held them in high esteem, but my esteem is seriously crumbling down these days.

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  10. Seismic tomography showed Amphipolis tomb in 1999

    http://www.newgreektv.com/index.php/greece/item/10904-seismic-tomography-showed-amphipolis-tomb-in-1999

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    1. After the facts it is always easy to reveal what could have been key-information.

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    2. Yes indeed. But, as You can see , the underground infrastructures seems to be huge and complex, covering the whole area of the kasta Hill and not only a part of it. "A true detective story" you wrote....

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    3. Well, this should not come as a surprise, should it? Given the size of the Vergina Tomb in comparison and all that has been found there, we can expect to see much more than this single tomb they are digging out right here.

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    4. Great, is L1 point the grave that it´s being excavated now?

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  11. More posts in the blog Mediterraneo Antiguo about the occupant of this newly excavated tomb. This time by Andrew Chugg

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  12. Sorry, http://www.mediterraneoantiguo.com/2014/09/article-is-mother-of-alexander-great-in.html

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    1. Thanks! This is exactly what I was waiting for, an analysis by Andrew Chugg!
      I'll come back on this later.

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  13. axonometric representation of the tomb by architect M.Lefantzi under the Ministry of Culture.
    http://www.yppo.gr/2/g2001.jsp?mult_id=14882
    Appreciate that draws the arms of the caryatids united over the door and not holding the architrave

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    1. I can see how the hands cannot reach the ceiling, but I wonder how they conclude that at least the extended arm was like the ones of that caryatid:
      http://ancientgreekinternship.blogspot.pt/2010/03/curse-of-demeter.html

      Anyway, I hope at some point people from the ministry understand what a press release means... I don't understand for instance why they release all images and this diagram on thumbnail resolution. That is one of the various issues...

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    2. Full resolution means press copyright and money....

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    3. The journalist whose facebook you mentioned in the blog of Dr. King definitely has good contacts because publishes the same axonometric image that the ministry, but large.
      https://scontent-a-mad.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xap1/t31.0-8/10648441_870642316287419_4635800688913994257_o.jpg

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    4. Boro, I know, it is ridiculous. I of course like it that we have another source of info, but that doesnt stop the whole thing from being completely unprofessional. Just think that journalist is actually the one appointed by the ministry (or the prime minister) to handle press releases. That is how she gets the images, so why not release them through the official path? The worst thing is that she allows carelessly written statements to come out as press releases, causing also not only confusion but, for me, also problems to the archaeologists.

      Bannister, I doubt there are copyright issues. Copyright is automatic with the image creation/release.

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  14. Above I wanted to write "that at least the extended arm was NOT like the ones of that caryatid:"

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