The largest archaeological event in 2014 was the study of ancient tombs Amfiopole, in Central Macedonia in northern Greece today. In the second half of August, archaeologists entered the tomb and began one by one to explore its interior. Already, they found several pieces of ancient art, some of which were allegedly created Ordinates – court architect of Alexander the Great.
After 23 centuries of sunlight saw the beautiful two-meter marble sphinxes, caryatids, frescoes. Researchers have concluded that the baskets on their heads, caryatids reminiscent of those used in the rituals of worship Dionysus. Now we continue the study once the underground chambers, and scientists and concerned audience wondering who was buried in the largest of the known ancient Greek tombs. Scholars date it 330 – 325 BCE, that is the end of the era of Alexander the Great. In amfiopolskoy tomb could lay someone close approximation of Alexander or his family members.
But the answer to the question about the host of this tomb is inextricably linked with other archaeological sensation that happened almost four decades earlier – the opening of the Macedonian tombs at Vergina. The small town of Vergina, which now lives a little more than two thousand people, also located in Central Macedonia, but lies slightly to the west of the ancient Amfiopolisa. In a straight line and Vergina Amfiopolis share about 130 kilometers.
Star of Vergina hour came when scientists began searching the capital of ancient Macedonia – city Egi . Around the V century BC, Macedonian kings moved their residence to Pella, which has become the largest city in the country, but Erie continued to maintain the status of the holy city, where representatives of the royal family were buried. For a long time it was thought that the city was Egi where now the city of Edessa – is also a region of Central Macedonia, but a little to the west. But then, this hypothesis was rejected.
A new hypothesis about the location Aigues advanced Nicholas Hammond. Once Hammond finished Cambridge, where he studied ancient history, made a journey on foot to the north of Greece and Albania, where the ancient Macedonian kingdom was caused by its special interest. Suddenly experience Hammond useful during World War II, when he entered military service in the Directorate of Special Operations and engaged in sabotage activities on Crete, the islands of the Archipelago and in his beloved northern Greece and Albania. After the war, Hammond returned to academic life and end of life devoted himself to the study of ancient Macedonia.
Hammond was known excavations that were carried out near Vergina in 1861 by Frenchman Leon Eyzies , have shown promising results, but were stopped due to raging in areas of malaria. Hammond knew about the excavations begun in Vergina Greek scientists in the late 1930s and interrupted by the war. Vergina sensational research results at the time did not bring, but relying on them Hammond suggested that ancient Egi to be found there.
Confirmation of the hypothesis Hammond and world fame came to the small town of Vergina in 1977. And did that Greek archaeologist, Professor Manolis Andronikos the University of Thessalonica. When Andronikos began work at Vergina, he made many discoveries, but the main event took place at the beginning of November, when archaeologists saw the facade of the tomb. Found a fresco with a hunting scene struck an unusually high skill of the ancient artist. But even then, archaeologists had hoped for anything more than the opened burial in ancient times, where they would get only those items that are not coveted by robbers.
Soon, however, the researchers found that the marble tomb door is not compromised. They themselves had to penetrate, like the ancient robbers, make a hole in the roof. In the burial chamber down the rope ladder. Inside discovered bronze and silver vessels, weapons, iron tripod. They also found a beautiful iron helmet with the image of the goddess Athena, as well as remnants of the shield, which was decorated with gold and ivory. Was luxurious and the shell of the iron plates decorated with gold. Fasteners shell, gold also been made in the form of lions’ heads. Set of arms completed the two swords, spearheads and Leggings. Archaeologists have also been able to reconstruct the funeral bed, the remains of which were also in the room. Once upon a time it was decorated with sculptural reliefs of ivory. They survived only in part, but found among the wreckage has seven sculptural portraits, three of which Manolis Andronikos found images of Philip II, his wife and his son Alexander the Olympics.
Larnaks found in the tomb, was a golden casket with legs in the form of a lion’s paw. On the cover of shining star with 16 rays. A similar image before sometimes met on the works of ancient art, but after this discovery it was seen as an emblem of the kings of ancient Macedonia. It is difficult to judge how justified this conclusion, but since then a symbol, called Vergina Sun appeared on an unofficial Flag of Macedonia, flags of different municipalities of the region, the Greek driver’s license, and even in the form of a watermark in the Greek passport. In 1992, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia also chose a flag with the Vergina Sun on a red background, but after protests from Greece in 1995 the number of points had to be reduced to eight, and the form of their change.
Meanwhile Manolis Andronikos and his colleagues revealed larnaks. They suspected that they see inside. In larnaks ancient Greeks laid the bones of the deceased, taken from the ashes of the pyre. This larnakse bones were carefully wrapped in a purple cloth, lay on top of a gold wreath. The ancient master carefully manufactured from 313 gold oak leaves and acorns 68. Weighs 717 grams wreath.