Amphipolis

sfigesAmphipolis (a.k.a. Amfípolis, Modern Greek: Αμφίπολη; Ancient Greek: Ἀμφίπολις) is a municipality in the Serres regional unit of Greece. The seat of the municipality is Rodolivos. In ancient times, it was a city in the region once called Edonia in the present-day region of Central Macedonia. It was built on a distance of around 5 kilometres (3 mi) from the Aegean Sea coast.

Archaeology

The site was rediscovered and described by many travellers and archaeologists during the 19th century, including E. Cousinéry (1831) (engraver), L. Heuzey (1861), and P. Perdrizet (1894–1899). In 1934, M. Feyel, of the École française d’Athènes, led an epigraphical mission to the site and uncovered the remains of a funeral lion (a reconstruction was given in the Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique, a publication of the EfA which is available on line). However, excavations did not truly begin until after the Second World War. The Greek Archaeological Society under D. Lazaridis excavated in 1972 and 1985, uncovering a necropolis, the rampart of the old town, the basilicas, and the acropolis.

The Tomb of Amphipolis

In 2012 Greek archaeologists unearthed northeast of Amphipolis at a location called the Kasta Hill, a vast tomb, the biggest burial tomb ever unearthed in Greece. The perimeter is 497 meters long, and is made of limestone covered with marble. Three sections have been revealed by the excavation, each closed with a stone wall. 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, apparently mimicking the fourth ce. BC style. The large size of the tomb indicates the prominence of the burial made there. The identity of the burial remains unknown, since the excavation is still going on. Dr. Katerina Peristeri, the archaeologist heading the excavation of the tomb, dates the tomb to the late period of the 4th Century BC, which is the period after the death of Alexander the Great (323 BC). In the course of the excavation, directly behind the Caryatids and in front of the Macedonian marble door leading to the “third” chamber, a pebble mosaic showing the abduction of Persephone by Hades was discovered. Hades’ chariot is drawn by two white horses and led to the underworld by Hermes. The mosaic verifies the Macedonian character of the tomb and its date in the last quarter of the 4th Century B.C. As the head of one of the sphinxes was found inside the tomb behind the broken door, it is clear that there have been intruders in the tomb, probably in antiquity.

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