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Old 04-26-2015, 04:29 AM   #1
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Default Mystery of Greece's Alexander the Great-era tomb deepens with body discoveries

Mystery of Greece's Alexander the Great-era tomb deepens with body discoveries

By Nick Squires

7:04AM GMT 20 Jan 2015

A vast tomb built in the time of Alexander the Great in Greece contains the ancient remains of five people, archaeologists announced on Monday, deepening the mystery as to who it was dedicated to.

Archaeologists unearthed bones from at least five people, including a woman aged over 60, a newborn baby, two men aged between 35 and 45 and another adult of indeterminate age.

The bones of one of the men bore cut marks which were likely to have come from a sword or a dagger, the Greek culture ministry said, adding a new twist to the occupants of the necropolis.

The fifth person, whose gender and age has not been identified so far, had been cremated.

Since the tomb was discovered at Amphipolis in northern Greece last year there has been intense speculation that it may have been built for Alexander the Great, or failing that one of his generals or his mother.

Most experts have discounted the Alexander theory, saying that he was probably buried in Egypt.

The tomb has been dated to between 325 B.C. - two years before the death of the warrior-king - and 300 B.C.

Alexander forged one of the largest empires the world had ever seen, a sprawling mosaic of territories that stretched from the Mediterranean to the Indus.

He is believed to have died in 323 BC, at the age of 32, after an all-night drinking bout in Babylonia, with his body then transported to Alexandria, a city that he founded, for burial.

After his death, his generals fought over control of the empire he had established.

During those wars, Alexander’s mother, widow, son and half-brother were all murdered - most of them near Amphipolis.

Inside the huge tomb – the largest ever to have been found in Greece - archaeologists have found two marble statues of sphinxes and a beautiful mosaic pavement which depicts the abduction of Persephone, the daughter of Zeus, by Hades, king of the underworld.

Tests will be conducted on the bones of the woman and two men to determine if they were related.

“Part of the analysis will look into a possible blood relationship ... but the lack of teeth and cranial parts that are used in ancient DNA analysis may not allow for a successful identification,” the culture ministry said.
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