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Amazing Amphipolis: Archaeologists discover sculptures of two Caryatids protecting the tomb

Amazing findings in Amphipolis tomb! Archaeologists revealed the sculptures of two female figures (“Caryatids”) after the removal of sandy soil inside the tomb. Made of Thassian marble the sculpures are standing in front of the second septal wall inside the Amphipolis archaeological site and are supposed to prevent visitors from entering the tomb.

amphipolis caryatids

Amazing protector of the tomb: Caryatid in the West

According to a statement released by the Greek Ministry of Culture on Sunday morning:

– the Caryatids sculptures are united with a marble pillar of 0,20 x 0,60 meter.

-the face of the Caryatid in the west is almost intact, while the face of the Caryatid in the east in missing.

-the head of the Caryatid has rich curls down to the shoulders, wear earrings and a sleeved tunic.

-the right arm of one sculpture and the left arm of the other are raised in an “attempt to symbolically prevent visitors form entering the tomb”.

-the statues bear traces of blue and red color.

– fragments of the sculptures, such as parts of hand palm and smaller fragments of fingers have been found in the sandy soil.

– in front of the caryatids sculptures – and from the waist downwards, there is a sealing wall made of limestone with a width of 4.5 meters. It is the second sealing wall for the protection of the tomb.

The provision of a second sealing wall with caryatids suggests the idea that this is an outstanding monument of particular importance,” the Ministry statement said.

amphipolis caryatids noface

Caryatid in the East with no face

Excavation continue and probably in two-three weeks there would be some clues about the dead of Amphipolis.

Profile pictures of Caryatids sculpture in the West

PS with two Sphinxes outside and two Caryatids inside to protect the tomb I wouldn’t wonder a woman of particular important is buried in Amphipolis. But who? Olympias, the mother of Alexander the Great? Hardly. She was know to be “queen of the snakes” and furthermore she was put to death denying burial services. Cleopatra the great? She died a few centuries later. Cleopatra, the last wife of Philip, Alexander’s father? Too insignificant to have such a monument for a tomb…. 

But certainly the Caryatid sculptures as ‘tomb protectors’ give the tomb another dimension as they are associated with Goddesses Artemis and Athena – see Acropolis Caryatids – and nevertheless ancient Amphipolis was among others also an Athenian colony 

(hopefully it’s “Anna” from alien V-visitors tv-series buried in Amphipolis.”KTG, the archaeologist…Ha!)

amphipolis caryatids stand

Stand of Caryatids sculptures

More pictures in Greek Ministry of Culture here – unfortunately in Greek only!

Two Sphinxes guarding the outside tomb entrance

Panoramic view of the Amphipolis tomb




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    On Thursday, September 4, a meeting was undertaken at the tomb worksite, under Mendoni Lina, Secretary General of the Ministry of Culture and Sports Minister, the interdisciplinary team, led by Mrs. K. Pigeons and the participatng officials from the Directorate of Ancient Monuments of the Ministry of Culture. An overall assessment was done of the measures taken to protect the monument, after the torrential rain of the previous 24 hours and it was determined these actions were considered quite satisfactory. At the same time measures to shore up projections, supports and components inside the monument/tomb, were also done to create safer ways for the excavation to continue.
    On Friday, September 5, soil/sand was removed from behind the second septal wall, in order to balance the geo-stationary preasures between of two inner spaces. With the removal of the soil/sand to about 2 meters from the dome or 4.5 meters, about the floor, a marble rectangular plate, length 4.2m, width 1m. 0.21m thick, in excellent condition was found. (photo 1) Consisting of a marginally poros stone the third protective wall and upper marble beam, which carries the dome. (photo 2) At the bottom of the plate are painted decorations in blue, red and yellow, which represente panels with rosette in the center. (photo 3.4) are in this section of the tomb ceiling. In the same space between the second and third septal walls are showed a significant impairment of tholiton section, in both parts of the west, while the eastern portion of the dome. Antistirichthike crowned the dome, with the installation of wooden beams in contact with foam substrate and vertical prop. (photo 5). Works at retaining and second diaphragm wall, which carries the architrave and cornice, with wooden frame and braced by steel tubular beams. Moreover, uncovered conditions bearing of the architrave. It was found that the vertical crack architrave extends the full height and is bright. The space in front of the architrave triangular metal frame placed alongside the south side. The architrave antistirichthike with four side supports which are mounted on a metal frame.
    On Saturday, September 6, further removal of soil/sand in front of the architrave, required serious placemnt of supports under the broken portion, with vertical tubular posts and a wooden horizontal beam. With the removal of the sandy soil, the area in front of the second septal wall, beneath the marble architrave, were revealed two marble pilasters and two excellent caryatids, in Thassian marble (photo 6). The face of the western Caryatid survives almost intact (photo 7.8), while the face of the eastern figure is missing. (Photo 9). The Caryatids have rich curls that fall over their shoulders and ears, and they wear a classic sleeved tunic. The right hand of one figure and the left of the other figure were raised so as to symbolically stop and prevent those who would attempt to enter to the tomb. There are traces of red and blue on the Caryatid heads as on the wings of the entry Sphinxes. Among the sandy soil found around the figures, were fragments of sculptures, such as a palm portion and smaller fragments of their fingers. The presence of the Caryatids represent an important finding, which suggests that this is an out standing monument of major importance. In front of the Caryatids, from the waist down there is a wall of limestone across the width of the tomb 4.5m. (Photo 10, 11) This is the second sealing wall constructed in the same technique as the first inner wall of the burial chamber and demonstrates a further effort on behalf of the builders to prevent entry into the tomb.

    • thank you for the detailed MinCulture press release – although “Mrs Pigeons” is chief archaeologist “Mrs Peristeri”