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Five new royal tombs were discovered in Vergina

Five royal tombs were discovered in Vergina

Five new royal tombs were discovered in Vergina and the excavators believe they belong to Cassander and King Perdiccas II


The five royal tombs came to light during excavations at the royal necropolis of Aeges.

The Temenid burial cluster was located in one corner of the Aeges cemetery and although the cemetery has been brutally looted, monuments demonstrate impressive evidence of funerary architecture as well as portraits of the royal family of King Perdiccas II.

According to the newspaper " Ethnos" the excavator Angeliki Kottaridi found five different royal tombs, three cist and two "Macedonian". One tomb is of particular importance, since it demonstrates a large underground room with white walls decorated with painted garland, fronds, flowers and ivy leaves and is the oldest example we know from Macedonia.

Kottaridi refers with special admiration to the pottery found.

The iron sword found in the tomb, is believed to belong to a warrior, perhaps King Perdiccas II ( 454-413 BC ), who had fought hard and long during the Peloponnesian war to keep his kingdom independent.

Next to the Ionic tomb excavated in 1987 , another Macedonian tomb with Doric columns was found. The façade presents parallels with that of the tomb of Alexander IV, son of Alexander the Great and Roxanne.

Although the tombs have been looted, the presence of residue of impressive funerary pyres, and the size and shape of monuments lead archaeologists to link them with the dynasty of the kings of Macedonia, the Temenids.

The director of the 17th Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, Angeliki Kottaridi, does not exclude that one of the graves belonged to Cassander himself or one of his sons, who as children of Thessaloniki belonged to the illustrious dynasty of the Temenids. Unfortunately, almost the entire main building has been destroyed.

The new findings were presented by Kottaridi during the 27th meeting of the Archaeological proceedings in Macedonia and Thrace.

The city of Aiges, the ancient first capital of the Kingdom of Macedonia, was discovered in the 19th century near Vergina, in northern Greece. The most important remains are the monumental palace, lavishly decorated with mosaics and painted stuccoes, and the burial ground with more than 300 tumuli, some of which date from the 11th century B.C.

One of the royal tombs in the Great Tumulus is identified as that of Philip II, who conquered all the Greek cities, paving the way for his son Alexander and the expansion of the Hellenistic world.

Vergina represents exceptional testimony to a significant development in European civilization, at the transition from the classical city-state to the imperial structure of the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

This is vividly demonstrated in particular by the remarkable series of royal tombs and their rich contents. The paintings found at Vergina are of extraordinarily high quality and historical importance.

The ancient city in the northern foothills of the Pierian range is the capital of the kingdom of Lower Macedonia, Aigai, traditionally founded by Perdiccas I when the Macedonians of the Argive spread northwards over the plain of Emathia.

As the capital of the Macedonian kingdom and site of the royal court, Aigai was the most important urban centre in the region throughout the archaic period (800-500 BC) and the following century. The grave-goods in a series of tombs dating from the 6th and 5th centuries BC demonstrate commercial and cultural links with Greek centres of eastern lonia and the south. At the end of the 5th century, Archelaus brought to his court artists, poets and philosophers from all over the Greek world.

Although the administrative centre was transferred to Pella in the 4th century BC, Aigai retained its role as the sacred city of the Macedonian kingdom, the site of the traditional cult centres, and the royal tombs. It was here in 336 BC that Philip II was assassinated in the theatre and Alexander the Great was proclaimed king.

The best known feature of the site is the necropolis, which extends for over 3 km, with the Cemetery of the Tumuli at its heart. This contains over 300 grave-mounds, some as early as the 11th century BC.

Source: Ethnos

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