Sphinx Head from Amphipolis? Maybe … Maybe Not

The twittersphere was all agog yesterday as the Ministry of Culture released photos of a head found by the archaeologists which is being touted as the heads of one of the headless sphinges guarding the entrance to the tomb at Amphipolis. Here’s the offical photos released by the Ministry

Ministry of Culture Photo

Ministry of Culture Photo

l_15247

Ministry of Culture Photo

l_15248

Ministry of Culture Photo

m_15247

Ministry of Culture Photo

Kathimerini’s coverage provides the relevant info that the ministry released

Archaeologists digging at a tomb dating to the era of Alexander the Great in ancient Amphipolis in northern Greece have found the missing head of one of the two sphinxes guarding the entrance of the grave.

According to a statement yesterday by the Culture Ministry, the head, which was found inside the tomb’s third chamber, belongs to the statue on the eastern side of the entrance.

Barring some slight damage to the nose, the head is largely intact. The head measures 60 centimeters from top to bottom. Archaeologists also found fragments of that sphinx’s wings at the same chamber.

I genuinely want this to be as described, but I see a problem. When you put this head on the sphinx at the gate, it doesn’t quite work (I know others have done this as well, but this  is my own photoshopping). If one tries to fit the head according to the ‘break’, one gets this:

rehead

… which, as can be seen, won’t fit into the niche. If one sizes the head to fit.

rehead2… the head seems disproportionately small. Here are a couple of ‘closer’ views:

rehead3 rehead4 copy

 

What also doesn’t quite gibe with me is that this head was apparently found inside the tomb and again the tomb robbers suggestion is coming up. The thing is, even if a tomb robber did do this, I doubt they’d carry the head some 14 metres into the tomb … they’d get it on the way out.

I think we have a head from another statue happening here … given the polos, possibly another Persephone.

 

 

 

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7 thoughts on “Sphinx Head from Amphipolis? Maybe … Maybe Not

  1. Interesting theory. But don’t you find the neck (esp the back of it) attached to the head too thick to belong to a human female body?

    • Possibly … depends on who the woman is, though, and what activity they might be involved in …but a good point.

      • Sorry, I really can’t see how this could be part of her shoulder. Especially if one looks at the photo that shows the back of the head and neck (third pic from top)
        .

      • It is her neck and left shoulder. Her neck is bent or arched to the side, giving an impression of elongation of her neck.

  2. I agree. It looks like the ‘real’ heads could have possibly been bowed down and bent at the neck, possibly turned to face the front. I dont see that head fitting at all.

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