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Archeology/History Thread

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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby yialousa1971 » Wed Oct 29, 2014 1:32 am

Is the Mother of Alexander the Great in the Tomb at Amphipolis? Part 6: The Mutilation of the Sculpture

Amphipolis6By Andrew Chugg*
I wrote my initial article on this question on the morning of 6th September, a day before the announcement of the discovery of the caryatids, and I wrote a second part on 20th September and a third part on 28th September dealing with the caryatids.
The discovery of the mosaic announced on 12th October prompted fourth article on 13th October, in which I predicted that the part-excavated mosaic depicted the Abduction of Persephone with the god Hermes running ahead of the chariot and Hades (a.k.a. Pluto), god of the Underworld, driving the chariot. In a fifth article on 18th October I suggested that Persephone should be a portrait of the occupant of the tomb and therefore the occupant should be a woman. Of the two queens that are candidates, Olympias is far more likely to have had red hair. I also showed that the Hades figure could be a portrait of Philip II and the Hermes figure a portrait of Alexander the Great at his age when his father died. Now there is new evidence from the discovery of large fragments of the tomb doors and the head of the right-hand sphinx from the entrance, announced on 21st October.

But in order to set the occupant’s identification in context, here is a summary of the inferences I drew from the evidence available in my first five articles:

1) Sphinxes decorated the thrones found in the tombs of two mid to late 4th century BC queens of Macedon, one of whom was Alexander’s grandmother Eurydice I
2) Greek mythology recognised Hera the wife of Zeus as the mistress of the sphinx: the 4th century BC Macedonian kings identified themselves with Zeus, so it would make sense for their principal queens to have identified themselves with Hera
3) The female sphinxes at Amphipolis, Greece , have their closest parallel in a pair of female sphinxes found by Mariette at the Serapeum at Saqqara, which were dated to the reign of the first Ptolemy by Lauer & Picard, mainly on the basis of an associated inscription: the Serapeum at Saqqara is also a strong candidate for the site of the first tomb of Alexander the Great
4) There are strong parallels between the façades of the tombs of Philip II and Alexander IV at Aegae and the reconstructed façade of the lion monument that stood atop the mound at Amphipolis
5) The paving in the tomb at Amphipolis closely matches paving in the 4th century BC palace at Aegae
6) The 8-petal double rosettes in the Amphipolis tomb have an excellent match on the edge bands of the gold larnax of Philip II
7) The evidence therefore favours an important queen being entombed at Amphipolis: Olympias, Alexander’s mother, and Roxane, Alexander’s wife may both have died at Amphipolis and are the only prominent queens that
accord with the archaeologists’ firm dating of the Amphipolis tomb to the last quarter of the 4th century BC
8. On the assumption that the occupant of the Amphipolis tomb is Olympias, a straightforward explanation of the caryatids would be that they are Klodones, the priestesses of Dionysus with whom Plutarch, Alexander 2 states that Olympias consorted: the baskets worn on their heads would be those in which Plutarch says the Klodones kept snakes.
9) Plutarch, Alexander 2 tells the story of Philip having dreamt that he sealed Olympias’s womb whilst she was pregnant with Alexander with the device of a lion. This provides an explanation for the tomb having been surmounted by a lion monument.
10. The mosaic from the floor of the second chamber depicts the Abduction of Persephone by Hades, led by Hermes. However, it is reasonable to suspect that Persephone is a portrait of the occupant, in which case she is a Queen. The reddish hair colour fits Olympias much better than Roxane.
The Hades figure would work as a portrait of Philip II and Hermes may be a portrait of Alexander aged twenty, because he could not be depicted any older in the company of his father.

On 21st October 2014 the Greek Ministry of Culture issued a press release announcing the discovery of the missing head of the eastern sphinx that sits on the right-hand side of the lintel above the entrance to the tomb. The sphinx’s head has a terrible beauty, considering that she was a mythological creature that tore her victims to pieces (Figure 1). The rarity of such original 4th century BC sculptures of this superb quality needs to be emphasised: nearly every example we are used to seeing of a similar nature is a Roman copy. Some are even whispering the name of Alexander’s court sculptor, Lysippus.

However, this new discovery also provides important new information on the way that the Amphipolis LionTomb may fit in with other royal Macedonian tombs in the period immediately after Alexander’s death. In particular, the pair of Amphipolis sphinxes can now be recognised to have the same hairstyle as the pair of generally very similar Greek sphinxes found in 1850-1851 at the Serapeum at Saqqara in Egypt (Figure 2). I wrote in 2012 that the Serapeum sphinxes were probably part of the decoration of the first tomb of Alexander the Great. The close similarity with the sphinxes at a tomb that may belong to Alexander’s mother enhances the evidence that the Serapeum was indeed the site of Alexander’s first tomb in Egypt, before his remains were moved to Alexandria in about 280BC. It improves the chances that the Serapeum sphinxes were indeed a part of its sculptural decoration. The speculation would be that it also indicates some tangible link between the two tombs. Did somebody view the sphinxes at Olympias’s tomb shortly after 316BC and decide that similar sphinxes would serve as a suitable decoration for the tomb of her son at the Serapeum? Or might it even be possible that Olympias herself commissioned sculptures of a pair of sphinxes to guard her son’s tomb at the Serapeum on her behalf soon after it was set up in 321BC?

One problem with the new head is currently obsessing the “Twittersphere”. Naturally enough, photoshop reconstructions of the new head restored to its body have quickly been produced (Figure 3). It is immediately obvious that there is potential difficulty in fitting the head into the available space beneath the arch. This has led to wild speculation that the arch was not built when the sphinx’s head was knocked off and that somebody subsequently built the arch to house already decapitated sphinxes. As we shall see that is very unlikely, not least because the rest of the evidence is starting to suggest that the tomb was sealed up at the same time as the sphinxes were beheaded. However, there is a more credible answer to the conundrum. Two thousand three hundred years have passed since the sphinxes’ heads were in place. Arches are not immune to some degree of movement on such timescales, especially when they have been subjected to known stresses. In this case the arch has long supported a huge overburden of soil and has been subjected to at least one historical earthquake. There are indeed signs of subsidence in the form of large cracks and slight misalignments of some blocks. The mason puts the same taper onto all the blocks in an arch of this form, which leads inexorably to a precisely semicircular form. However, the arch above the sphinxes is around 10% flatter than a true semicircle: its vertical radius is about 10% shorter than its horizontal radius (Figure 4). This is probably attributable to subsidence and/or earthquakes. So we can reasonably conclude that there was plenty of room for the heads and wings of the sphinxes when it was originally built.

http://greece.greekreporter.com/2014/10 ... sculpture/
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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby repulsewarrior » Mon Nov 03, 2014 11:58 pm

MGCN wrote:
repulsewarrior wrote:
Archaeologists Found 3300 Year Old Cult Complex in Israel
Read more at http://guardianlv.com/2014/10/archaeolo ... RwzdYl5.99


...what i found interesting is the surprise, that artifacts from places like Cyprus were found.


Hi RW,

I'm not sure why it is a surprise to find Cypriot artifacts in late bronze age sites anywhere in the Eastern Med given the island's location and copper deposits.

Evidence of tin trade in the Mediterranean can be seen in a number of Bronze Age shipwrecks containing tin ingots such as the Uluburun off the coast of Turkey dated 1300 BCE which carried over 300 copper bars weighing 10 tons, and approximately 40 tin bars weighing 1 ton (Pulak 2001).


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tin_source ... iterranean

Rectangular corbelled tombs point to close contacts with Syria and Palestine as well. The practice of writing spread, and tablets in the Cypro-Minoan script have been found on the mainland as well (Ras Shamra). Ugaritic texts from Ras Shamra and Enkomi mention Ya, the Assyrian name of Cyprus, that thus seems to have been in use already in the late Bronze Age.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prehistori ... Bronze_Age

and thAt is only Wikipedia!!


...one would imagine as a crossroad then, Cyprus was more important than it is today, frankly, given that the word copper and Cyprus are synonymous, i would have expected the opposite to be true; (I may be exaggerating, but) if Cypriot artifacts are not found, that is unusual.
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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby GreekIslandGirl » Tue Nov 04, 2014 9:22 am

From what I've heard about the finds at Amphipolis, I would say we are privileged to be seeing the unfolding of the single most significant archaeological discovery of all time. The contribution this era of Hellenism has made to the world is so immense that whoever was laid to rest here had made an amazing gift to our past, which shaped our future.

Even the Daily Mail has improved their behaviour. Good summary of finds so far...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ ... nside.html

I am truly awestruck. Sigh.
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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby yialousa1971 » Tue Nov 04, 2014 10:31 pm

Cypriot Professor: The tomb in Amphipolis belongs to Hephaestion


As excavation works at the large tomb located at Kasta hill in Amphipolis continue, new questions are being raised by various scholars about the mysterious occupant of the tomb.

Commenting on the archaeological dig in northern Greece on Tuesday morning to MEGA channel, associate professor of history and archeology at the University of Cyprus, Theodoros Mavrogiannis, said that he is convinced that the tomb of Amphipolis belongs to the general and close friend of Alexander the Great, Hephaestion. He said he basis his theory on the date that was given by Katerina Peristeri (who is heading the excavations) and noted that the Caryatids have a political message and refer to the Athenian governmental syste, since "Hephaestion was an Athenian".

He stressed that he basis his theory on ancient written sources, and pointed to historic Diodorus Siculus (80-20 BC).
“I believe that the monument was constructed between 322 and 318 BC, but we have to wait until ceramics found there confirm this date,“ said Mavrogiannis.He said he is convinced of this, but that nothing is certain because there are no relative inscriptions.

He said that he disagreed with the opinion that Caryatids do not convey a political message, because in his opinion they do. They say that “Athenians have finally returned to Amphipolis”.

Back at the tomb, other questions that surfaced over the past few days revolve around a marble door which presents many similarities with Philip’s tomb at Vergina.

The findings were announced by lead archaeologist Katerini Peristeri. After the removal of the accumulated earth, three broken pieces of a [Thasos] Marble door were found. The Marble pieces were found in the doorway of the third wall, which leads into the third chamber. The broken Marble pieces were part of a door that pivoted, as pivots points were found [above and below] in the door casing. Also found were some copper and iron nails.

Some observers conclude that if the door broke due to a powerful earthquake, or to other catastrophes, then why is the frame is still intact and in perfect condition?

So far, no one is able to understand this but it is making some observers believe that the tomb could have been looted.

If someone chipped away at the door in an attempt to rob the tomb then why open a small hole (which is located near the ceiling) to reach the next chamber? It is indeed puzzling.

The only conclusion so far -and the most logical one- is that the tomb was looted early on and the door broke during that incident. Then the tomb was filled with soil and sealed, but did not conceal the small hole near the ceiling.

In any case, the discovery of the marble door is indeed grand. On their part archaeologists believe this vast Tumulus is a funerary monument.

Finally, a group of graphic artists created a 3D video which transports viewers to the tomb allowing anyone with a curious eye to get a virtual view of what the Kastra hill looks like from within, from the outside of the monument up to the wall of the third chamber.

Click here to take your own 3D tour
http://amfipoli-news.com/3dmap.php#keyboard-controls
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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby GreekIslandGirl » Wed Nov 05, 2014 12:12 am

yialousa1971 wrote:Click here to take your own 3D tour
http://amfipoli-news.com/3dmap.php#keyboard-controls


Erm, I know I'm shit at PC games, but I didn't get very far with this man. Kept bumping into walls and then never managed to get up the first step (after tumbling down the initial ones). :oops: :P :)
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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby supporttheunderdog » Fri Nov 14, 2014 11:21 am

GreekIslandGirl wrote:From what I've heard about the finds at Amphipolis, I would say we are privileged to be seeing the unfolding of the single most significant archaeological discovery of all time. The contribution this era of Hellenism has made to the world is so immense that whoever was laid to rest here had made an amazing gift to our past, which shaped our future.

Even the Daily Mail has improved their behaviour. Good summary of finds so far...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ ... nside.html

I am truly awestruck. Sigh.


Bullshit... single most important archaeological find of all time? Important yes, but not that important....the Greeks probably stole much of "their" knowledge from the middle-eastern civilizations they invaded and destroyed, and with the suppression of those civilisations by the Yianni come lately Greeks the true origin of the knowledge lost.
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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby repulsewarrior » Fri Nov 14, 2014 8:23 pm

http://famagusta-gazette.com/archeologists-find-year-old-bronze-razor-in-siberia-p26556-69.htm

A 4,000-year old bronze razor has been discovered at the site of an ancient settlement in the Novosibirsk Region, western Siberia, a local archeologist said on Wednesday.


...Siberia, what would have this settlement been close to? why did people find themselves living here so long ago; fascinating.
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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby repulsewarrior » Sun Feb 07, 2016 10:57 pm

A wreck of historic importance

http://cyprus-mail.com/2016/02/07/a-wreck-of-historic-importance/

It was discovered in 2007 and sits at a depth of 45 metres off the coast of Mazotos in Larnaca. Having sat undisturbed in its silent, watery grave since the 4th century BC the wreck has caused a buzz in the archaeological community.

feature nathan - More than 500 amphorae from the Mazotos shipwreck in situ

“The Mazotos shipwreck is special for many reasons,” says Demesticha.

“First of all, it belongs to the rare class of ancient shipwrecks that can be characterised as coherent – meaning they preserve their internal stratigraphy. Such wrecks can provide unique insights into seafaring, seaborne trade and shipbuilding in antiquity.”

To put things into perspective, the ship sank at about the time the Romans built their first aqueduct and before the conquests of Alexander the Great shook the region. It set sail on its ill-fated voyage during the height of the Classical Greek civilisation, as philosophy, literature and architecture were spreading far and wide.


...photos, too.
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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby supporttheunderdog » Wed May 11, 2016 7:08 pm

Interesting snippet about AncientbCypriot Copper ingots and items being found in Scandinavia. http://in-cyprus.com/3600-year-old-swedish-axes-cypriot-copper/

There were almost certainly pan European trading routes probably using the great river sytems eg Danube, Rhine and Rhone, and others, to carry goods all over Europe and the Med. We underestimate the capabilities of ancient peoples to travel.
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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby supporttheunderdog » Tue Jul 12, 2016 4:54 pm

A report in the Mail about the Oldest village in Cyprus where now 20 buildings have been found, probably 2000 years older than the better known remains of Choriokoitia.

http://cyprus-mail.com/2016/07/12/remains-20-ancient-circular-buildings-uncovered-cyprus-oldest-village/

According to the Antiquities Department, the buildings were constructed on small terraces, notched into a gentle slope facing the sea. The walls were built with earth and strengthened with wooden poles and the floors were often plastered.

In most buildings large hearths were discovered, sometimes accompanied by a 30-50 kg millstone.

“These buildings were probably frequently reconstructed, as seen by the multiple layers of remains that were found, one above the other, on the terraces,” the department said.

The buildings are situated around a circular, 10 metre communal building, that was excavated between 2011-2012. The building dates to between 11,200 and 10,600 years BP (Before Present).

The surveys and excavations that have been conducted since, have shown that the village would have covered an area of at least half a hectare.

“This is the earliest known village in Cyprus, and is more than twenty centuries older than Chirokitia,” the department said.
Large quantities of stone tools, stone vessels, stone and shell beads or pendants were also found there.

The animal bones indicate that domestic dogs and cats were already introduced to Cyprus, and that the villagers hunted a small Cypriot wild boar and birds. Intensive sieving provided strong evidence for the cultivation of emmer wheat: a primitive cereal introduced from the continent. At this time, the Ayios Tychonas-Klimonas villagers were hunter-cultivators who did not produce pottery.
The organisation of the village, its architecture, the stone tools and the presence of agriculture and hunting are elements that are very similar to those that have already been identified in the early Pre-Pottery Neolithic Levant, between 11,500 and 10,500 years BP.


and it even made the UK Daily Mail

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-3686468/Digs-uncover-buildings-Cyprus-11-000-year-old-village.html
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