Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 24th 2014 Contents A39
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The discovery of an enormous tomb
in northern Greece, dating to the time
of Alexander the Great of Macedonia,
has enthused Greeks, distracting them
from a dire economic crisis.
Who, they are asking, is buried with-
in. In early August, a team of Greek
archaeologists led by Katerina Peristeri
unearthed what officials say is the
largest burial site ever to be discovered
in the country. The mound is in ancient
Amphipolis, a major city of the Mace-
donian kingdom, 62 miles east of Thes-
saloniki, Greece s second city.
The structure dates back to the late
4th Century BC and the wall surround-
ing it is 1,600 ft in circumference,
dwarfing the burial site of Alexander s
father, Philip II, in Vergina, west of
"We are watching in awe and with
deep emotion the excavation in
Amphipolis," Greek Culture Minister
Konstantinos Tasoulas told the BBC.
"This is a burial monument of unique
dimensions and impressive artistic mas-
tery. The most beautiful secrets are
hidden right underneath our feet."
Inside the tomb, archaeologists dis-
covered two magnificent caryatids. Each
of the sculpted female figures has one
arm outstretched, presumably to dis-
courage intruders from entering the
tomb s main chamber.
The caryatids modern counterparts
are sitting in a police car, 650 feet from
the tomb s entrance.
The dig site is protected 24 hours a
day by two police officers.
Their mission is to keep away the
scores of journalists and tourists who
arrive here by a winding dirt road from
the nearby village of Mesolakkia.
The excavation team has made no
statement regarding the identity of the
tomb s occupant. But this has not pre-
vented the media, archaeologists and
laypersons alike from becoming
embroiled in an often heated guessing
Archaeologists agree that the mag-
nificence of the tomb means it was
built for a prominent person---perhaps
a member of Alexander s immediate
family; maybe his mother, Olympias,
or his wife, Roxana---or some noble
Others say it could be a cenotaph.
But only the excavation team can
give definitive answers, and progress
has been slow since the workers dis-
covered a third chamber that is in dan-
ger of collapse.
Experts have not reached a verdict,
but for the few hundred inhabitants of
modern-day Amfipoli and Mesolakkia,
the two villages closest to the burial
site, there is no doubt: interred inside
the marble-walled tomb unearthed near
their homes is none other than Alexan-
der the Great.
"Only Alexander merits such a mon-
ument," says farmer Antonis
Papadopoulos, 61, as he enjoys his
morning coffee with fellow villagers in
a taverna opposite the Amfipoli archae-
"The magnitude and opulence of
this tomb is unique. Common sense
says he is the one buried inside."
Archaeologists and the Greek min-
istry of culture warn against such spec-
ulation, especially since Alexander the
Great is known to have been buried in
"We are naturally eager to learn the
identity of the tomb s resident, but this
will be revealed in due course by the
excavators," Tasoulas, the culture min-
The discovery, made after two years
of digging, was announced during a
visit to the site last month by Prime
Minister Antonis Samaras, who
described it as "very important".
Since that announcement, Amfipoli
and Mesolakkia have been teeming with
people, who have disturbed the slow
rhythms and tranquillity of village life.
Greeks allured by Alexander-era tomb
Two sphinxes guard the entrance to the tomb at Amphipolis.
A pair of caryatids revealed in a tomb in Greece stand more than seven feet tall.
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