Monday, February 13, 2006

Massive women's tomb unearthed in Greece


A massive tomb has been unearthed by archeologists in Pella, Greece, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Macedonia, some 370 miles north of Athens.

Pella was the birthplace of Alexander the Great, whose empire came to stretch from Greece to Asia. It broke into several empires after his death in 323 B.C.

The tomb, which has eight chambers dates to the time of Alexander, and is the largest ever found in Greece.

Cut into rock, the 678-foot tomb was discovered by a farmer.

The 678-square-foot tomb hewn out of rock was discovered by a farmer plowing his field on the eastern edge of the ancient cemetery of Pella, some 370 miles north of Athens, archaeologists said. The large size of the tomb indicates it belonged to a wealthy Macedonian family.

"This is the largest and most monumental tomb of its kind ever found in Greece," said Maria Akamati, who led the excavations.

The tomb appears to have been plundered two thousand years ago, as artifacts have been strewn about the site.

A central area is surrounded by eight chambers, all died in red, blue and gold. Stone slabs inside are inscribed with the names of their female owners — Antigona, Kleoniki and Nikosrati. A relief on one of the slabs depicts a women and her servant.

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Photo of Roxanne, beloved of Alexander the Great, from Silk Road Dance Company's "Remembering the Legends"

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