Archaeologists are getting ever closer to discovering the resident of the vast ancient tomb in Amphipolis, northern Greece.
The latest treasure uncovered is a mosaic covering the entire floor of a 3m x 4.5m chamber. Some of the fragments forming a circular pattern in the middle are missing, but enough have been recovered to reconstruct a large part of the mosaic.
The Greek Culture Ministry released this picture of part of the mosaic, which is made up of white, black, grey, red and yellow pebbles:
It shows the Greek god Hermes leading a horseman in a chariot drawn by two horses. Hermes is the conductor of souls in the Greek afterlife.
The team leading the excavation say the presence of the mosaic suggests they have made it to the antechamber of the burial site, which means the main burial room awaits them next.
Archaeologists dated the mosaic to have been laid down around 325-300BC.
There’s very little chance that the tomb will contain the body of Alexander the Great, but just about anyone covering the excavation can’t resist mentioning that although the legendary conqueror was believed to have been buried in Egypt in 323BC, his tomb hasn’t been found.
The Amphipolis site is more likely to contain the body of one of Alexander’s relatives or favoured generals.
Here’s what’s known about the burial mound so far:
- The large mound complex has so far taken two years to unearth at the Kasta hill site.
- It’s 10 times bigger than that of Alexander’s father, Philip II of Macedon.
- It’s nearly 500m long and made of marble imported from the nearby island of Thassos.
- There are claims it was made by Alexander’s close architect friend, Dinocrates.
Here’s a 3D walkthrough of the excavation, made by a group of local enthusiasts based on releases from the Culture Ministry so far:
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