An almost intact skeleton discovered at a burial site in Amphipolis – the largest ever discovered in Greece – is said to have belonged to a “distinguished public figure, given the tom’s dimensions and lavishness, the culture ministry said.
Chief archaeologist Katerina Peristeri said “the tomb in all probability belongs to a male and a general”.
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The excavation has fascinated Greeks ever since Prime Minister Antonis Samaras visited the site in August 2014 and announced there was “an exceptionally important discovery,” reports BBC News.
The skeleton discovery has only added to Greek excitement about the identity of the person entombed at Amphipolis.
“It is an extremely expensive construction, one that no single private citizen could have funded,” the ministry said at a briefing for reporters on Wednesday. “It is in all probability a monument to a mortal who was worshipped by his society at the time.”
Speculation has been rife, with experts offering several scenarios including the deceased being a member of Alexander the Great of Macedon’s family or one of his most senior officials.
The tomb dates back to the late 4th Century BC when Amphipolis was a major city in the Macedonian Kingdom.
The site is located 100km (62 miles0 East of Thessaloniki, the second Greece city.
Before the skeleton was discovered, some experts had suggested that the site might be a cenotaph, constructed in honor of a major figure whose remains were elsewhere.
The limestone tomb was found 1.6m (5.2 FT) below the floor of the third chamber of the burial complex. It spans 3.23m in length, 1.56m in width and 1.8m in height.
A wooden coffin was placed inside along with scattered bronze and iron nails, as well as bone and glass fragments – probably decorations from the casket.
The bone remains and any genetic material will be examined by specialists, the culture ministry said.
“The monument represents a unique and original synthesis,” it added.