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 "Important Discovery"

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Islanddawn
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Tue 30 Sep 2014, 17:49

The full height of the caryatids and pedestals revealed as archaeologists remove the last of the stone blocks and soil. For the first time photographs show the sheer size and scale of this chamber, and it was entirely covered in sand fill almost up to the roof. Good grief, how many wheelbarrows full would it have been to cover it all up?

http://www.theamphipolistomb.com/caryatids

And the floor looks like it is the same as the entrance, marble chips in red cement. 

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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Tue 30 Sep 2014, 18:37

Oh, I am so shallow but, every time I read about the sand filled chambers, I think of this:

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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Thu 02 Oct 2014, 03:10

Ha, she need not have worried quite so much, once the sand level reached those silly low holes in the walls it would have blocked the shutes, the sand would never reach higher than her knees. She'd still be locked in there though. Love the shiny synthetic fabrics they are wearing too, very ancient Egyptian. Smile

But the sand filled chambers has stunned archaeologists as it is a first for Greece, the ancients obviously looked to Egypt for ideas. The consensus seems to be that it was used as a means of support for the massive weight of the mound and lion up top, but I tend to think it was a clever way to keep the tomb safe from theives. There is no way they could have dug through all that to get to the goodies?

Or possibly it was for both?
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Thu 02 Oct 2014, 16:07

3 sections of a marble gate, a hinge and a collection of bronze and iron nails found during the removal of more soil from the 3rd chamber.

http://en.protothema.gr/new-discoveries-in-the-third-room-of-the-amphipolis-tomb/

Archaeologists are quoted as now being assured that the Kasta Hill complex is indeed a tomb as it follows the standard form of a Macedonian tomb.

The intricate support structure built for the third chamber

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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Thu 02 Oct 2014, 16:29

Oh and a very good explanation of further points from todays MoC press release, the finds and how they relate to Macedonian tombs here

http://phdiva.blogspot.it/2014/10/todays-amphipolis-news.html
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Fri 10 Oct 2014, 16:16

Artist representation of the tomb entrance based on the archaeology



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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Sun 12 Oct 2014, 12:35

Hot off the press, a spectacular mosiac floor depicting a chariot in motion has been revealed in the second Caryatid chamber. Photographs here

http://en.protothema.gr/amphipolis-exquisite-mosaic-floor-unearthed-see-photos/

Will post further details as they emerge.
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Sun 12 Oct 2014, 17:09

Thank you, ID for keeping us up to speed on this most interesting dig. The mosaic was bril because the detail of the horses' heads clearly showed bits in place. Hermes leading the horses was  interesting - he also had travellers and merchants in his provenance, I think.
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Sun 12 Oct 2014, 17:23

Hermes is featured on the Great Tomb at Lefkadia leading the dead into the underworld and a number of other Macedonian tombs. 



It has been suggested by some that the chariot driver is Philip II (Alexander's father) because a) he won a wreath at the Olympic games in a chariot race the year Alexander was born and b) because he is in profile and hiding the right side of his face. Philip had lost his right eye.
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Mon 13 Oct 2014, 08:10

Impressive stuff, but I'm intrigued - how was the central part of the mosaic damaged? Is it from subsidence, animal burrows, physical damage or what? I can't seem to find that in any report, other than that the archaeologists "already knew it was damaged".
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Mon 13 Oct 2014, 10:56

There is lots of speculation on the missing piece MM, theories are flying thick and fast on anything from earth quakes and water damage to a post hole. There is also suggestion that the mosaic pieces were found in the soil and an attempt will be made at restoration. But there hasn't been a statement from the Head Archaeologist on it yet and I'm trying to stay away from assumptions as much as possible in favour of the science.

There is this report published today but nothing on the hole.

http://en.protothema.gr/amphipolis-the-hidden-message-of-the-intricate-mosaic-photos/
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Mon 13 Oct 2014, 11:35

It looks like someone or something's been digging, presumably before the chamber was filled in. I see that the hole hasn't been excavated yet to see if the visible surface is fill of the same nature as that in the rest of the chamber or from a ceiling collapse or whether it is the original under floor surface. When that is done it should help clarify. If the floor collapsed, ' tired' like my ceiling, there should be reasonably organised tesserae in the fill, the fact that there's some in the removed soil from above floor level makes a natural explanation seem unlikely.
The hole appears to be slap bang in the middle of the chamber, co-incidence? Is there any tradition of a central foundation deposit worth digging up in these types of tombs?
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Mon 13 Oct 2014, 11:48

Exactly what I was thinking, ferv, and better said too - a 'hole' like that: round, in the centre of the floor in a room that had been filled after construction - I'd have thought was very distinctive and suggestive of various scenarios, and all with important bearings on the dig as a whole.

PS:

@ferval wrote:
Oh, I am so shallow but, every time I read about the sand filled chambers, I think of this:








Call me shallow too ... but with the third (?) sand-filled vault having a small opening opposite, I immediately thought of Lara Croft.....
No, not the films with Angelina Jolie, but the original PC games, and especially that complicated manoeuvre she had to sometimes do:
a backflip, with 180° mid-air twist, followed by grasp, climb and enter, modified by a crouch.

On a keyboard it was something like:

shift / ctrl / up-arrow
(while still holding crtl): space-bar / right-arrow
shift / up-arrow / ... L-key
up-arrow (to crawl into the hole) ... shift (to draw pistols 'cos who knows what's waiting down the passage!) ... and all with the L-key still held otherwise she tries to stand and bangs her head.
Menu
Save

.... and then breathe!
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Mon 13 Oct 2014, 12:46

shift / ctrl / up-arrow
(while still holding crtl): space-bar / right-arrow
shift / up-arrow / ... L-key
up-arrow (to crawl into the hole) ... shift (to draw pistols 'cos who knows what's waiting down the passage!) ... and all with the L-key still held otherwise she tries to stand and bangs her head.
Menu
Save



And that's precisely why I've never progressed beyond Spider Solitaire ( 4 suit level though) in the computer games world. It's easier to just dig the stuff up yourself.

Sorry, off topic again but perhaps there's a possible thread about historically based computer games for those who like that sort of thing?
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Thu 16 Oct 2014, 14:59

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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Thu 16 Oct 2014, 15:09

Psychopomp: what a wonderful word and so useful now the new series of 'The Apprentice" is running. Psychopomps aplenty amongst that lot.




ps. I can't get any of the text formatting options to work, is it just me?
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Fri 17 Oct 2014, 02:50

Re the hole in the centre of the mosaic, in the latest announcement Head Archaeologist Katerina Peristeri has said only this "that the damage does not appear to be natural deterioration of time" and (quite rightly at this stage imo) avoided elaborating further.
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Fri 17 Oct 2014, 09:47

Exciting, isn't it? Now, of that hole in the mosaic - what if the wreathed man had been holding a shield - or a Medusa head or some such - to be added later, or dug out if of value - or a portrait that was later removed? Theat rear horse looks somewhat alarmed. What material were the tesserae - I can't find a reference.


Last edited by Priscilla on Fri 17 Oct 2014, 09:48; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : sloppy typing)
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Fri 17 Oct 2014, 10:21

Haven't found the material of the tesserae either P, most articles just refer to them as 'pebbles'. I suppose it is another thing we need to wait to be verified when the full report is released after the dig is finished.

Some have suggested that a shield could have filled the hole, and others that it could have been the royal symbol of the House. Or indeed it may have been both shield with the symbol, I think that the tomb was built for Alexander the G but it is extremely doubtful that he was ever buried there. Possibly, if the tomb was re-used for another high ranker then anything identifying the occupant as Alexander was subsequently removed?



Here is further information from the Ministry


The funeral theme of the floor mosaic found at the Kasta tomb, at Ancient Amphipolis, confirms the tomb is dated to the last quarter of the 4th century BC, according to the site’s chief archaeologist, Katerina Peristeri.

The mosaic depicts the abduction of Persephone by Pluto. Persephone is facing backwards (to the right), Pluto is driving a two-horse chariot and moving to the left, whereas Hermes has the role of psychopomp, escort of souls to the underworld.

The abduction of Persephone “is clearly a funeral theme,” Peristeri said, adding that “we have yet another example of dating the tomb – the last quarter of the 4th century BC” (315-300 BC).

However, the mosaic does not indicate the sex of the person who was buried there and according to Ms. Peristeri it is still early to say whether the tomb is royal. “We cannot say anything before the excavation ends. It is a very important tomb and its significance rises with the mosaic, which is the first of its kind to be found at a funeral monument.”

The mosaic, though, can be valued towards two directions: Firstly, the symbolism of mosaic which links it directly to Temenid dynasty, ie Philip II and Alexander the Great. Secondly, the artistic innovation of the design, since the artist tried to represent a third dimension in the mosaic, which makes it an innovative work.

“The theme of Persephone’s abduction is found in the wall painting of the so-called Tomb of Persephone, at the royal cemetery of Aegae”, Culture Ministry Secretary General Lina Mendoni said during a press conference yesterday.

“Pluto and Persephone, as a sacred marriage theme, are also found on the backrest of the marble throne found in the tomb of Euridice, the mother of Philip, at Aegae,” Ms. Mendoni said. The scenes related to these two “are related to cults of the underworld, the Orphic cults and the Dionysian cult practices,” she added. So, this theme was a common one depicted at the royal Macedonian tombs. Also, every king of Macedonians was also the high priest , so both Philip and Alexander the Great had a special connection with the symbols of this ancient occultism.

Also, the cost for constructing such a tomb as the one discovered in Amphipolis could be covered only by the spoils of Alexander the Great. And only a person who was directly connected with the Macedonian leader could aspire to be identified with the Temenid dynasty through this magnificent monument. As it is indirectly indicated through this mosaic, the person who ordered the construction of the tomb wanted to mark his relationship with Alexander the Great.

Moreover, only a person who could claim to be considered equal of Alexander the Great would recruit the greatest artist of that time for the decoration of the tomb, since it is clear that the artist who designed the mosaic was one of the best artists.

The particular mosaic was remarkable, the ministry said, for both its rich colours and the perfect execution of the design. It notes that the third dimension is presented in the mosaic, especially in the figures of the psychopomp and Persephone, and it is also a reference to the equivalent scene of Persephone’s abduction in the royal cemetery at Aiges.
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Fri 17 Oct 2014, 10:45

I'm inclined towards the 'Alexander' hypothesis. The Egyptian influence might go beyond the style and layout and include the practice of preparing a spectacular resting place by the intended occupant while he was still alive. Then, when he croaked and was body snatched off to Alexandria, it was filled in and left as a monument/cenotaph/shrine.

What happened to the sphinxes' heads and the caryatids' arms I wonder? Deliberate, symbolic damage perhaps as might be the removal of an identifying crest on the floor?
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Mon 20 Oct 2014, 08:57

There have been some accusations floating around that the Ministry hasn't announced all the finds, and are witholding information. Mainly about a supposed inscription that supposedly identifies the occupant. This article is mostly an official denial, but at the bottom of the page there are a couple of paragraphs about the hole in the mosaic

Moreover, the circular piece missing from the center of the mosaic has led to many assumptions and is still a mystery, whereas general secretary of the Ministry of Culture Lina Mendoni ruled out the possibility of a physical cause.

Also, the excavation teams rules out the possibility of the mosaic being vandalized, unless an item of great value was placed in the center of mosaic. Archaeologists believe that the most possible explanation is the existence of a vessel in the center of the impressive mosaic, which was probably used in rituals and damaged the floor due to the years passed.

They also consider the possibility of both the backfilling and sealing of the walls being created after the erection of the monument.

http://en.protothema.gr/are-there-any-finds-that-have-not-been-announced/
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Mon 20 Oct 2014, 09:47

Nevertheless, according to the officials there are some findings that are not worth mentioning, so they are not included in the press releases issued by the Ministry of Culture, such as the skeleton of a swan. The remains of the bird were found in the backfill of the first chamber.
“We have found many items that can be removed, such as ceramics, nails, plates, etc.” said site’s chief archaeologist, Katerina Peristeri. As she explains, these are not worthy mentioning in the press releases, until they have been fully restored.



What utter nonsense.This looks to me like another instance where the speed of excavation and the financial and political pressures on the campaign has bu**ered up the process. There's echoes of the RIII business here, these inclusions in the fill and their precise location and context in every case are absolutely critical to dating and the reconstruction of the biography of the monument. 

At least I hope that it's external pressures on the excavation team that has prompted this unholy rush to get in there and not glory hunting on the part of the site directors, this seems to me to be turning out to be another seriously mismanaged dig.



I still can't get the formatting options to work!
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Mon 20 Oct 2014, 14:58

Yes I tend to agree ferval, it is bollocks.

This is the Ministry trying to cover tracks, it is they who have been cracking the whip over the archaeologists and as they are employed by the state.....
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Tue 21 Oct 2014, 10:14

The discovery of a sand layer reinforces the view that the embankment was not the result of a random, long-term physical process

A 20-cm-thick layer of clean sand from Strymonas river was removed yesterday from the third chamber of the Kasta Tomb in Amphipolis as the excavation proceeds, bringing the world closer to the solution of the mystery regarding the owner of the majestic grave.

The discovery of the sand layer reinforces the view that the embankment was not the result of a random, long-term physical process. On the contrary, the sealing of the grave with soil, sand and brick was a conscious act, aiming to protect the Tomb. The use of sand might have something to do with the “insulating” properties of the specific material, which is ideal for trapping moisture.

http://en.protothema.gr/amphipolis-the-sands-of-strymonas-and-olympiads-unburied-body/
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Wed 22 Oct 2014, 05:12

The head of the east sphinx found, almost intact and just inside the entry to the third chamber. The neck instertion also survived intact and fragments of the wings were also found.  But what in hell are they doing there and in the fill? A deliberate removal?

http://en.protothema.gr/alert-they-found-the-head-of-the-sphinx-in-amphipolis/
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Wed 22 Oct 2014, 10:34

A bit more info and captions to go along with the photos this time. Plus a very nice little 3D video of the tomb to date.

http://en.protothema.gr/amphipolis-tomb-the-mystery-of-the-sphinx-head-photos/
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Thu 23 Oct 2014, 13:34

A brief analysis from an Ancient Art Historian on the symbolism of the sphinx in ancient Greece.

http://en.protothema.gr/amphipolis-the-sexuality-of-the-sphinx/
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Sun 26 Oct 2014, 15:55

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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Fri 31 Oct 2014, 13:50

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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Fri 31 Oct 2014, 13:52

If anything they're excavating at an even faster rate than before. This dig just gets scarier and scarier.
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Tue 04 Nov 2014, 13:55

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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Tue 04 Nov 2014, 14:36

X-ray scanners? It would need to be a hell of a big ct scanner to get that mound inside.
I presume they mean external gpr or perhaps lazer scanning recording of the interior - who knows?

This project gets weirder all the time.
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Sun 09 Nov 2014, 16:53

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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Mon 10 Nov 2014, 19:51

Ferval, anything with Islanddawn?
If it is delicate, you can me enlighten also via "message privé" (private message?)...

Kind regards and with esteem, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Mon 10 Nov 2014, 20:24

Paul, ID is on holiday in Australia and said she would be mostly out of contact for a while.

Here are the latest reports from ID's usual source: http://en.protothema.gr/?s=amphipolis
This one's quite interesting: http://en.protothema.gr/amphipolis-why-was-the-empty-tomb-sealed-thrice/
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Mon 10 Nov 2014, 21:11

Thank you very much Ferval for your immediate respons.
Read the two links that you provided and indeed it is up to date to today. Interesting stuff, I hope that we will have some news before New Year, of course without hurrying up the archaeologists Wink ...

Kind regards from the Belgian contributor Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Tue 11 Nov 2014, 08:05

I've been reading Macedonian (as in FYOM) blogs about this as well. Even funnier than the Greek posturing.

Paul, you will not have to wait till the new year - at this rate the whole thing will be done and dusted à la Schliemann by next Monday.
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Wed 12 Nov 2014, 15:55

I see they've found a body in a sarcophagus beneath the third chamber:

http://en.protothema.gr/the-dead-resident-of-amphipolis-was-found/
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Wed 12 Nov 2014, 16:53

Goodness, it's going to take them, oh, at least another week to completely excavate the mound if this really is the full ground plan of the interior.


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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Wed 12 Nov 2014, 18:44

I'm just an interested bystander and know diddley-squat ... but this does seem to be being excavated with undue haste,  and it's not as though there are pressing plans to put a by-pass or airport through the site. So what's the rush?

Compared to this unseemly haste is the dig at the burial mound of Teotihuacan, 50km from Mexico City. The preliminary results are only now starting to be published some 9 years after the excavation started, and digging is still, slowly, going on.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-29828309
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Mon 24 Nov 2014, 20:43

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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Tue 02 Dec 2014, 03:47

Amid much fanfare it was announced that the first major press conference would be given by the archaeologists working at Amphipolis over the weekend, all of which turned out to be a bit of a disappointment as nothing much was revealed that we didn't already know or suspect.

Still there were a couple of things said that are of interest,  here is a round up  http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/amphipolis-press-conference-secrets-020119
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Wed 03 Dec 2014, 14:26

Restoration work on the seven architraves in the 2nd chamber behind the Caryatids as begun, and the good news is that some figures have emerged. Pics here

http://www.theamphipolistomb.com/second-chamber
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Thu 04 Dec 2014, 15:26

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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Fri 19 Dec 2014, 04:10

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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Fri 19 Dec 2014, 08:49

For all the indecent haste during excavation and all the hyperbole issuing from Greek authorities concerning Ampipholis, I have yet to read or hear any serious academic postulation regarding the Macedonian excavation being the actual tomb of Alexander, despite the preamble to the first referenced article which seems to infer just this. The archaeologists concerned however have been resolute in knocking such speculation on the head and have put forward alternative and much more plausible theories that relate the tomb complex - and its most recent finds - to Alexander's family, not his person. So in that sense the article starts with a misleading premise.

However the rest of it is what might be called "old news". The suspended excavation at the Siwa Oasis has been a well documented bone of contention for twenty years, not only because it is indeed a plausible location for Alexander's tomb, in accord with ancient texts relating the visit of Greek and Roman dignitaries to it and which therefore merits further investigation that might prove or disprove this possibility, but also because it represents the extremely seamy side of political intervention in archaeology, especially when driven by nationalism. People familiar with the history of modern archaeology in the territories now governed by Israel, for example, will be very familiar with such scenarios. The fact that Alexander is such an internationally symbolic figure in history and yet this however has not rescued his heritage from such ill-conceived, nationalistic and highly disruptive attempts to control archaeological theory to the point of falsehood simply shows just how precarious truth and its pursuit actually is in our world.

Lianna Souvaltzi, the archaeologist who excavated Siwa, states in the second article referenced above that others are showing "hatred" towards Siwa - and I assume by implication towards herself too for championing the possibility of reopening this excavation over the last twenty years. While this reaction may be understandable on her part it also goes a way towards revealing how dangerously close Souvaltzi herself is to allowing misguided sentiment and emotion cloud the issue. In her case it is probably down to nothing more sinister in terms of motivation than an obsessive desire to at last arrive at a decision about Siwa based on exhaustive inquiry which she has arbitrarily been denied conduct. However the emotions and motives at play on the political side run much deeper than that. The obsession there - on the Greek, FYROM, Egyptian and other interested parties' side - is not related to the actual finding out of the truth at all. In fact I strongly suspect that for the Greek and Macedonian politicians' part the exact opposite applies.

Greek archaeologists, much like Israeli archaeologists, are often driven to despair by the intervention of their governments. This article simply highlights just such an instance.
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Islanddawn
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Thu 08 Jan 2015, 05:58

The findings of the analysis of the skeleton found at Amphipolis will be announced on Jan 20, according to the Ministry of Culture. The MoC has also refuted the supposition that the skeleton belonged to Olympias, mother of Alexander.

http://greece.greekreporter.com/2015/01/07/as-of-january-20-the-announcement-on-the-macroscopic-analysis-of-amphipolis-skeleton/
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Thu 08 Jan 2015, 08:18

The article wrote:
As she underlined, this date was decided long before the announcement of the January 25 snap general elections.

And there you have it in a nutshell.
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Mon 19 Jan 2015, 14:07

The remains of 5 individuals found at Casta Hill. A family tomb?

http://en.protothema.gr/breaking-news-five-skeletons-at-amphipolis-tomb/

Quote :
a) a skeleton belonging to a woman, her age estimated at 60, her height at 157 cm. Her age was estimated on osteoporosis signs, among others.
This skeleton was the one found in half inside, half outside a “grave of limestone”, 2.3m long and 0.54m wide.
b) skeletons of two men, aged approximately 35-45 years old, height 168 cm and 163 cm. One of the skeleton has injuries by a sharp item that probably caused his death. Both skeletons had signs of osteoarthritis.
c) skeleton of a new born baby: it was not possible to identify the sex due to the very young age.
d) skeleton bones indicating that the dead was cremated.

http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2015/01/19/amphipolis-five-skeletons-in-the-tomb-vip-dead-identified-to-be-a-woman-olympias-scenario/
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Wed 21 Jan 2015, 10:27

Ok, the tomb holds not only the bones of the 5 persons mentioned but possibly another 5 people as all the 500 bones found have not yet been investigated.

http://en.protothema.gr/amphipolis-not-five-but-10-dead-at-amphipolis/
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PostSubject: Re: "Important Discovery"   Wed 21 Jan 2015, 17:15

I hope the people running the dig "hold their horses" a little and do a thorough investigation. Alexander the Great is such a well-renowned person that I can understand people WANTING one of the people entombed there to be him, but I wouldn't like to see another "King under the Car Park" kerfuffle (okay this internment site in Greece is not a car park I know).  But with the discovery of (allegedly) Richard III there is still a certain amount of controversy with  Ricardians saying "Oh yes it was" and non-Ricardians saying "Oh no it wasn't".  I know Alexander was a great military leader but he dropped in my estimation when I learned that he had had the doctor of one of his best friends hanged because the said friend had died.
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