Archaeologists believe they have identified a second monument at the famous Kasta Hill in Amphipolis, Greece, which made headlines around the world when a highly-decorated Macedonian tomb complex, possibly linked to Alexander the Great, was discovered in 2012. The results of geophysical prospecting, carried out by the Applied Geophysics Lab of the Aristotle University of Macedonia, revealed a structure two meters deep on the west side of the hill.
The Mystery of Tomb of Amphipolis
The ancient site of Amphipolis was discovered and described by many archaeologists during the 19th century, even though excavations didn’t really begin until after the Second World War. The Greek Archaeological Society under Dr. Lazaridis excavated in 1972 and 1985, uncovering a necropolis, the city wall, the basilicas, and the acropolis. Further excavations have since uncovered the river bridge, the gymnasium, Greek and Roman villas and many tombs. Parts of a lion monument and tombs were discovered during World War I by Bulgarian and British troops whilst digging trenches in the area.
Officers of the 2nd King’s Shropshire Light Infantry with skulls excavated during the construction of trenches and dugouts at the ancient Greek site of Amphipolis, 1916. (public domain)
The site became famous worldwide only recently, when in 2012 a team of Greek archaeologists excavated a huge tomb within Kasta Hill, the biggest burial mound ever found in Greece, northeast of Amphipolis. The tomb comprises three chambers separated by walls. There are two sphinxes just outside the entrance to the tomb. Two of the columns supporting the roof in the first section are in the form of Caryatids, in the 4th century BC style. The excavation uncovered a pebble mosaic depicting the abduction of Persephone by Hades directly behind the Caryatids and in front of the Macedonian marble door leading to the “third” chamber. Hades’ chariot is drawn by two white horses and led to the underworld by Hermes. The mosaic verifies the Macedonian character of the tomb.
Artistic representation of the caryatids in the Amphipolis tomb, © Gerasimos G. Gerolymatos.
Caryatid sculptures found within Amphipolis tomb in Greece. Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture
As the head of one of the sphinxes was found inside the tomb behind a broken door, it is clear that there were intruders, probably in antiquity. The identity of the burial remains a mystery and the excavation is continuing, even though many historians and archaeologists have claimed that the burial chamber couldn’t be that of Alexander the Great as it was built after his death. Nevertheless, it may contain the remains of one of his family members or a general who served in his army.
New Monument May Be “Laying” Under the Amphipolis Tomb Complex
The director of the Lab, Dr. Grigoris Tsokas claims that “targets” had been spotted west of the ruin that required a closer examination, “We have the distribution of resistance in a 3-dimensional depiction, and we can see that there is something there. We are speculating that is a second monument, a lot smaller (than the one already found), at a depth of about two meters, which must be explored”, he said at archaeology news network. Tsokas adds that there had been a full geophysical prospecting of the Casta Hill where a buried valley had been found, “The geophysical study of Casta was assigned to our Lab in 2014 and the University fully funded the project. We have already explored the hill and are processing the data collected, a difficult task due to the sheer volume, while there have been findings that warrant archaeological certification, which is why we are trying to find funds to continue”, the professor underlined. It’s also important to notice that a piece of coal find excavated at the foundations of the memorial showing that the monument goes back to 300 BC.
Top image: Kasta Hill, Amphipolis, Greece