Archaeological News

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Just when Greece thought it had come through the worst of the crisis it was hit by a new blow Wednesday—the Acropolis is crumbling.

Engineers have discovered that part of the huge flat-topped rock on which the ancient Parthenon sits in the centre of Athens is starting to give way, the Greek news agency ANA said.

Teams from the Central Archaeological Council found “instability over quite a wide area” after investigating a rockfall in January in which a boulder of “considerable size” tumbled from the most visited site in the Greek capital. Read more.

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THESSALONIKI (AFP).- An elderly Greek man was arrested for illegally obtaining a host of antiquities including more than a thousand coins of historical significance, police said on Monday.

Inside the 72-year-old man’s house in Alexandria, a village in northern Greece, police found 1,061 copper coins, a thousand of which date from the Hellenistic period (third to first century BC), the Byzantine period (330-1453) and the Ottoman Empire.

Police said they were seized on Sunday, as well as 30 silver coins of the same periods, 16 copper rings and other jewellery of the Byzantine and post-Byzantine era. The antiquities were examined by archaeologists who concluded that they are subject to the law protecting antiquities and the cultural heritage of Greece. An arsenal of 16 revolvers and rifles was also found as well as numerous metal detectors. The man has been charged in the past for illicit antiquities trafficking, authorities said. (source)

The archaeologist leading the dig at the much-discussed ancient tomb of Amphipolis in Serres, northern Greece, on Thursday laid to rest speculation that it may contain the remains of Alexander the Great.

“I hope that by Christmas, if not earlier, we will have some news,” Katerina Peristeri told Melbourne-based Greek community newspaper Neos Kosmos.

She added that the majestic tomb on Kasta Hill cannot possibly contain the remains of the great Macedonian general (325-300 BC), as it dates to after his death, in the latter quarter of the 4th century BC.

“We don’t know what else is in there, but such a monument has never been discovered before on a global scale,” Peristeri said. “We are making new astonishing and stirring discoveries every day,” she said as archaeologists explore two large chambers and clear the way for entry into a third. (source)

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A new doorway discovered inside the ancient tomb at Amphipolis is considered to be a possible fourth entry to the tomb. The entrance was discovered after random checking in specific points of the north wall of the 3rd chamber and is considered a critical discovery.

This new finding reveals two major differences from the earlier findings. Firstly, this new entry is smaller in width than the earlier ones. Secondly, the new entry appears different to the other entrances in the relevant photos released by the Ministry of Culture in that it is shifted towards the left and not in the center of the fourth wall.

The distance between the two Caryatid statues and the sphinx guards are twice the size in width as they are 1.68 meters apart, compared to this new opening that is 0.96 meters wide and 1.68 meters high. This new finding confirms lead archaeologist Katerina Peristeri’s inference that the road to the main burial chamber will be a long one. Read more.

New revelations regarding the ancient tomb of Amphipolis have everyone on the edge of their seats. The Greek Culture Ministry has finally released full-body photographs of the two caryatids “guarding” the tomb.

After removing three rows of limestone which had been used to seal the wall, archaeologists were able to fully uncover the two caryatids reaching a height of 2.27 meters. They statues are dressed in long chitons and long fringed dresses with folds.

They are also wearing sandals, decorated with red and yellow color, while their toes have been sculpted with great detail.

Read more.

A high-ranking Ministry of Culture official told Greek news sources that the archaeologists who are currently clearing out the dirt from the third chamber in the Amphipolis tomb believe that a fourth chamber may exist.

Meanwhile, the head of the excavation Katerina Peristeri told journalists that based on the findings so far, she believes the enigmatic tomb definitely dates back to the last quarter of the 4th century B.C. Mrs. Peristeri complained about colleagues who appear in the media claiming that the tomb may have been constructed in the Roman era.

“The tomb is Macedonian. We have all the proof for that.” said Mrs. Peristeri. “It’s futile for some people to say that it is Roman. I feel indignation against some colleagues of mine that speak to the TV channels, just for 5 minutes on prime time TV without knowing anything about the excavation.” (source)

Michalis Chrysochoidis, the Greek Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks, visited the archaeological site of Alikyrna near Missolonghi in western Greece, where an ancient city was recently unearthed during construction work for Ionia Odos.

The ancient city, located next to the construction site, sits in the area of Agios Thomas. Government officials were perplexed by the discovery of a previously-unknown city so large it stretches for many acres.

According to sources in the Greek media, the first findings suggest an ancient urban center which crosses over to the Ionia Odos construction site. Further excavations, research and mapping are expected. Read more.

Archaeologists entering the third chamber of the ancient tomb at Amphipolis are facing problems with detachments such as around the marble pillars where a visible portion of the vertical walls have detached parts, according to the Ministry of Culture. The detached parchments are believed to be the result of immense pressure to the area, possibly due to the tall embankments on the side of the dome.

The arch dome of the tomb is on the verge of collapse and archaeologists are proceeding slowly.

The Ministry of Culture and Sports press release said that members of the scientific team entered the third chamber from the existing hole in the wall of the third sealing wall in order to document and determine the structural condition inside so as to take the necessary support measures. Read more.