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 Dragiana/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 1, 2014

Revealing images from Amphipolis

Our patience has been rewarded with new updated pictures released over the weekend and kindly shared with me by my readers.

First of all I came across this interesting view of the tomb’s entrance which shows its location against the general mound of the excavation.


Among the new pictures is this one showing the very entrance again, framed by the sphinxes we so well know by now but which also includes the inclined ramp down to the floor of the tomb. 


This floor is covered with small bits of white marble on a red background – a red carpet avant la lettre. It seems that traces of blue paint have been found on the adjacent walls but these look very faint. 

Another great picture however is that of the vaulted area.



New is the suggestion that sand from the nearby riverbed was meant to be used as filling material to be shoveled inside through the gaping hole about which so much discussion is going on. Another wait and see.

Meanwhile, archaeologists have built a sheltering roof to protect the monument from rain and other weather elements. They also have worked on supporting the inside construction with steal beams now that the underlying soil has been removed. All this work is time-consuming but very necessary.

One thing is certain: the ancient builders went through a great deal of efforts to protect whoever is buried here. Inevitably this all leads to the resting place of a very important person. We and the rest of the world are holding our breath …

20 comments:

  1. From Greek Reporter

    Amphipolis Tomb: All Circus, No Bread at Greece’s Newly Found “Archaeological Disneyland”

    http://greece.greekreporter.com/2014/09/01/amphipolis-tomb-all-circus-no-bread-at-greeces-newly-found-archaeological-disneyland/

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    1. Sad but true. Hungry families will loot any site and sell their finds on the black market to survive. The situation is not unique to Greece, unfortunately. The same practices exist in countries like Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, ... to name just a few.

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    2. The artcle is far from reality in some points.
      In Amphipolis they are doing a grate job, far from the media.
      (Dont forget that at the days of Vergina no internet nor private tv was operating)
      The site is now unreachable, people are looking from far away.
      Only 2 visits have pass, prime minister and members from the political oposition (only for the surounding wall,not the gate).
      The interference of the prime minister, gave to the excavation the financial and political push, and so we see so many findings in so litle time, otherwise..........
      About looting in Greece, its a old and long story. In the now days, only criminals are dealing whith it.

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    3. I totally agree with you: there is no comparison possible between the excavations in Aegae and those in Amphipolis today. They belong to entirely different times.
      The Greek Reporter clearly hit a sensitive string in your Greek heart. So let us take the news with a pinch of salt (as we always should)?

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  2. Ha ha ha, ok.
    I just message this, so readers have not a wrong picture.

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  3. New Pictures:

    http://www.crashonline.com/amphipolis-tomb-more-photos-released-photos/

    Good Evening !

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    1. Thanks, Bannister. Looks like a true building site, doesn't it?

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    2. All the work now is targeting to secure the site from the upcomming bad weather. Summer is over...

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    3. Yes, summer is over but I hope that doesn't mean they'll stop digging? I dread thinking of what could happen if this site is left at this stage!

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  4. Yes indeed, Argyraspid...

    The archaeologists explain that three chambers leading to the Tholos are separated by diaphragmatic walls who act as boxes filled with sand allowing to forbid the access to the grave. The missing parts of the dividing walls would be intended to allow the filling. But so that this filling is really effective, it would be necessary:

    - That rooms be filled-up to the summit of the vault

    - That only the bottoms of the walls can allow the access from one room to the other one, what would explain that the filling is limited to the rough height of the architrave.

    But one can see that the chambers weren't entirely filled-up when the archaeologists discovered the gave and that it is possible to progress toward the Tholos passing by the holes in the upper parts of the diaphragmatic walls.

    So how about the affirmation from the Greek Minster of Culture that those holes seems to be part of the tomb-sealing process? What do You think?

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    1. Again, everything is possible. I find it very difficult to judge on what is or on what could be based on these pictures. My imagination may run wild and we need hard facts - don't you think so?

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    2. At least, if the first chamber was filled to the top of the vault as shown in this image http://www.yppo.gr/2/g2001.jsp?mult_id=14681 , the second chamber is hard to say if they were archaeologists who dug through the gap between the first and second chambers

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  5. I think a strong evidence in this direction, is if they didn find any part of stones that filled the holes.
    No looter after braking in, would drag those heavy stones out!

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  6. If we assume the holes are from looters, then looters should have accessed the monument from the front entrance since it appears there are no gaps at the top of the chambers. But then initial photos show that the area behind the sphinxes was full or material. The sphinxes were not covered, but I do not know if they were initially covered, and photos came out after they were cleaned during the excavation. I don't think this is the case, because to clean the sphinxes first ,one would have had to first remove the blocks that were found in front of them. That would indicate that chambers were filled not due to flooding or due to a natural cause, but intentionally.

    In that case, there are two possibilities: one that this intentional filling took place after some looting occurred (so to prevent further looting) or that it was there from the start. I favor the 2nd possibility, as looting would have taken place after the roman conquest and I don't see anyone bothering go in trouble to cover up the damage in such a methodic way.

    Of course that would not mean that the place is not looted. It only suggests that looters at least did not gain access from the main entrance. i assume that vertical access was difficult (the hill appears natural, so maybe rock layers protect the site), but I also do not see how one would be in front of such a monument, destroy part of it (the Lion and large blocks were moved several km away from the site), and not bother entering inside. If they are able to move a lion which weighs several tons, I think the would not have trouble digging holes or extracting sand from the main entrance.

    There are just so many conflicting aspects in this story... But that is also one element that makes it even more interesting :-)

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    1. Another aspect is that hill is not artificial, since they found prehistoric graves, under the top.

      So, you have right that someone who tried from the top would faced many problems, plus he would realised that this is a ordinary hill and not a tomb.

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  7. Looted, not Looted, looted, not looted......

    http://www.spartaface.gr/2014/09/tasoulas-increasingly-likely-that.html

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  8. I assume that this will continue until they enter inside. Everyone likes speculation, that is one of the fun things of exploiting new data (in any science field). As long as they keep clear boundaries between speculation/working hypothesis and conclusions, that would be fine.

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  9. Yes, discussions like these can go one for quite a while, at least till archaeologists have opened the heart of the tomb.
    I don't see the absolute necessity of filling the 2nd and 3rd compartments to the very top. The looter only needs a hole big enough for him to crawl through. After all, if he were aware of a grave-site, he could have crawled over the outside of the vault and remove a few stones to cause the vault to collapse and gain access that way. It is of course a more laborious process (and not very probable) but looters are very inventive. It just depends how determined they are.
    The lion on top of the mount might have stood there more as a landmark than as a referral to an underlying grave. I still wonder where the "left-over" stones around the lion fit in.
    So, we wind up with more and more questions, more and more theories. These speculations will not end before the core of the tomb is reached.

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  10. Prominent Greek archaeologist Panagiotis Faklaris has expressed certainty that the ancient tomb of Amphipolis that was recently unearthed in the northern Greek region of Macedonia has been looted...

    http://en.enikos.gr/society/14321,Prominent_Greek_archaeologist_says_Amphi.html

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    1. Thanks, Bannister! I can see that you are right on top of things.
      My thoughts will appear in a new article.

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