Culture and Sports Minister Lydia Koniordou revealed that the ancient Macedonian Kasta Tomb also known as the Amphipolis Tomb will open to public most probably in three years time.
Speaking at a press conference during the presentation of a new temporary exhibition on the Emperor Hadrian at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Koniordou said that the ministry do its best to make this happen.
“We are pressing on regardless, with the Central Macedonia Regional authority and the cross-border programme Interreg,” she said, noting that 1.5 million euros will be given by the regional authority and 1.3 million euros by Interreg.
“It is a very complex monument, which needs gradual restoration and studies depending on what will arise. It is a project that will be monitored constantly as it is being restored,” she noted.
Sections of the monument appear to have been built at different periods in time, though chiefly during the Hellenistic era in the 4th century B.C. Large amounts of building materials scavenged during Roman times have been found in the surrounding area and will be returned to Kasta.
Lydia Koniordou said further that the ministry was also pressing ahead with land expropriations around the Tomb in order to merge the archaeological site and allow further excavation work.
Work on the structural restoration of the Tomb will begin in late 2018, early 2019 and be finished within a year. This will be followed by the preservation of all murals, floors and decorative elements and the construction of a shell to protect the monument that is expected to happen in 2021.
First excavations in the area in 1964 exposed a perimeter wall, further excavations in the 1970’s uncovered more ancient remains. The Tomb was discovered inside the Kasta tumulus in 2012, and was first entered in 2014.
It not known who was the exquisited personality of the antique buried in the tomb. Initially it was claimed that it was Alexandre the Great buried there, later his close friend, nobleman and general Hephaestion or even Alexander’s mother Olympias.
At a press conference in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the archaelogist who lead the 2012-2014 excavations, Katerina Peristeri, revealed the existence of three inscriptions apparently linking the tomb to Hephaestion.
The ancient Greek word “ΠΑΡΕΛΑΒΟΝ” (it means “received”) is written in the inscriptions and next to it the monogram of Hephaestion.