Tomb of Alexander the Great Found?

This appears to be a hoax … the site Greek Reporter got it from is a hoax site that I’ve warned others about. Oh tempora! Oh mores! Dang. (tip o’ the pileus to M Fletcher on Twitter for pointing out my folly)

 

From Greek Reporter, which is not known as a font of accuracy alas, but they mention all the right things, more or less:

A team of archaeologists and historians from the Polish Center of Archaeology have revealed a mausoleum made of marble and gold that might be the tomb of Alexander the Great. The site is situated in an area known as Kom el-Dikka in the heart of downtown Alexandria, only 60 meters away from the Mosque of Nebi Daniel.

The monument was apparently sealed off and hidden in the 3rd or 4th century AD, to protect it from the christian repression and destruction of pagan monuments after the change of the official religion within the Roman Empire. It is a testimony to the multicultural nature of Alexander’s empire, as it combines artistic and architectural influences from Greek, Egyptian, Macedonian and Persian cultures. The inscriptions are mainly in Greek but there are also a few Egyptian hieroglyphs, mentioning that the mausoleum is dedicated to the “King of Kings, and Conqueror of the World, Alexander III.” The finding is extremely important as it can provide new information about Alexander the Great.

The mausoleum contains a broken sarcophagus made of crystal glass, 37 bones, mostly heavily damaged, presumably all from the same adult male and some broken pottery dating from the Ptolemaic and Roman ages. A carbon-dating analysis and a series of other tests will determine the age of the bones and if they belong to the Macedonian emperor.

Long time readers of rogueclassicism will know that we frequently get claims about the tomb of Alexander and it is one of the items which can set off the rogueclassicist’s skept-o-meter, but this seems to be the first one which actually puts it in the right place (i.e. Alexandria), has the right sort of sarcophagus,and it seems to be found by legit archaeologists (the Polish Mission has been digging there since at least (scroll down abit)). The only thing I’m not sure of is whether Alexander would have been referred to as Alexander III in an inscription — that, however, might be just a slip in an interview situation.

… our breath is bated for coverage from other news sources …

ADDENDUM (a few minutes later): adding to the intrigue is that this is the area where back in 2010 a temple of Queen Berenike was found amid speculation it was the actual location of Alexandria’s royal quarter. See Zahi Hawass’ undated press release:

… and an item in the Independent which helps us date the press release:

Another ‘Indiana Jones’ Searches for the Tomb of Alexander

Why does every country seem to have someone they dub an ‘Indiana Jones’? And why are they often the ‘fringe’ guys? Anyhoo … we’ll start monitoring this guy mention in Radio Free Europe:

With his flowing white locks and extravagant manner, Macedonian archaeologist Pasko Kuzman has become something of a celebrity in his native country.

Aside from some notable finds in his native Ohrid region, as head of the Cultural Heritage Protection Office he has had a major role in the Macedonian government’s controversial, if not provocative, use of ancient historical figures to adorn the capital, Skopje. He’s also seen as the force behind the latest beautification effort: the multimillion-dollar project Skopje 2014.

Most contentious is the massive bronze statue of Alexander the Great, erected in 2011. At the time, Greece objected strongly to the statue, branding it a “usurpation of Greek history.”

This is just one of a series of disputes that began with the very name of the country itself, Republic of Macedonia, which Greece fears represents a claim on its northern province of Macedonia. Greece has blocked Macedonia’s joining the European Union and NATO over the name issue.

But Kuzman, for one, won’t be deterred. As he told Balkan Insight recently, despite expectations that he will soon retire as the head of the Cultural Office, he won’t give up searching for Alexander’s tomb, which he believes could be in the country.

“There are two theories: according to the first his tomb is in Egypt, but a mosque was built above the tomb so no one dared dig under the mosque and reveal the tomb.

“We opt for the second theory, that there is a grave in Egypt, but that Alexander is not there, because on the request of his mother, Olympia, the sarcophagi were replaced and one coffin was sent to Egypt, while the other traveled to Macedonia, where Alexander is buried.

“He was buried with all the honors, but in a secret location in southeast Macedonia at a cemetery which still exists”, Kuzman continues, comparing the mystery of his grave with the mystery of the lost kingdom of Atlantis.

“I’m always behind him, closely following his footsteps! My passion since my student days is to find his grave. I am convinced that day will come,” he insists.

… almost the male equivalent of a certain someone looking for Cleopatra’s tomb, no? Always a childhood passion …

Purported ‘Tomb of Alexander’ Find Followup

This one’s kind of weird, in that the article appeared, then disappeared (or was inaccessible?) and now seems available again … brief item from Focus Fen:

Following recent news that the tomb of Alexander the Great and the Ark of the Covenant have been found on the Greek Island of Thasos during excavations, Greek researcher and publicist Nikolaos Koumartzis contacted Focus News Agency with a commentary on the situation.

Mr Koumartzis pointed that the supposed “excavation of the tomb of Alexander the Great” and presented evidence that the claims of the “excavators” were very unreasonable. Mr Koumartzis published a detailed report demystifying the whole situation and against the claims that the actual tomb of Alexander the Great was found.

Of course, this is in the wake of claims made a week or so ago that Alexander’s tomb had been found, along with — rather incongruently — the Ark of the Covenant (see:Oh Oh! Idiot Meter Just Hit Overload!!! It’s interesting that the person they now rely on a source is the same person who authored the website/book we linked to in our previous coverage … I’m guessing they didn’t read down to the ‘sacred triangles’ part. Or maybe they did — Focus Fen seems to be the farm team for the Daily Mail …

Alexander the Great Tomb in Amphipolis? Yeah … about that

This is another one of those mind bogglers which I don’t really understand … Back on August 21, a typically vague and brief item appeared in Greek Reporter:

A group of archaeologists in Amphipolis, a municipality in Serres, claim to have made one of the greatest archaeological discoveries ever, as they believe they have uncovered the tomb of Alexander the Great.

They said the tomb has a circumference of 498 meters, an artwork of perfection would only be built for a king.

Th masterpiece is externally covered with high quality exquisitely-carved marble, a remarkable feat given the tools available at the time.

The tomb once was covered with soil and topped with a lion, the one that has been reassembled further uphill and known as the Lion of Amphipolis which was found by Greek soldiers in 1912.

… which struck me as odd, especially given that none of the archaeologists involved were named, or even quoted. It struck me as odd especially because back in October, when this find was actually initially announced, there were plenty of names and quotes (see, e.g., Roxane’s Tomb?). In March, there were more developments and video coverage (Roxane’s Tomb Redux … click on the links therein as well for Dorothy King’s comments). In any event, because of this it wasn’t surprising to read an AP/Washington Post piece within a few hours suggesting it was ‘too early to tell’ … an excerpt:

[…] A Culture Ministry statement Thursday said the partly-excavated mound has yielded a “very remarkable” marble-faced wall from the late 4th century B.C. It is an impressive 500 meters (yards) long and three meters high.

But the ministry warned it would be “overbold” to link the site near ancient Amphipolis, 370 miles (600 kilometers) north of Athens, with “historic personages” before the excavation is completed. […]

It’s worth noting that the info in the Washington Post piece is essentially the same (in that it really adds nothing) to the info we read back in October (including the name of the archaeologist who seems to be heading the dig (Aikaterini Peristeri). Again, though, it’s probably not surprising that we had the Greek Reporter (via  a different author), trying to do some face saving:

On Aug. 22, the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports published an announcement on its official website about the way the media handled the recent excavation of a big built precinct of the 4th century B.C. in Kasta near Amphipolis, in the Serres regional unit of Greece.

As many Greek websites rushed to link the monument that was discovered to the long-sought tomb of warrior-king Alexander the Great, the Culture Ministry and in particular the General Directorate of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage felt it had to calm things down.

“The finding of Amphipolis is certainly very important, but before the excavation proceeds, any interpretation and mainly any identification with historical figures lacks scientific justification and is too risky,” the Ministry announced.

However, the Ministry admitted that the discovery of the marble-faced wall from the late 4th century B.C., 500 meters long and three meters high, is indeed very remarkable and of high archaeological importance.

I really can’t tell, but one suspects Enet (another English-language Greek newspaper) took great joy in posting only: Mound fuels heady speculation about Alexander the Great. Ditto for Kathimerini: Ministry warns against speculation that Alexander the Great’s grave has been found. Turkish Weekly is probably in the same boat: Greece: too early to say whether grave of Alexander the Great found.

So you’d think that would be the end of it and most people who read this blog are shaking their collective heads muttering things about Ptolemy and Alexandria. But nooooo … we read the International Business Times, which includes this bit, inter alia:

Lead archaeologist Aikaterini Peristeri said the grave could contain a “significant individual” or individuals, hinting at the possibility that the remains of Alexander and his wife Roxanne, as well as his young successor, are inside the tomb. […]

“Hinting”? Really? Didn’t know ‘hinting’ was the equivalent of a journalistic source. The ‘significant individual’ thing was made back in October. Speculation about others (including Roxane) was being made by municipal politician types.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mailhas been even more creative in its cutting and pasting of things written elsewhere, again, inter alia:

Site archaeologist Aikaterini Peristeri has voiced hopes of finding ‘a significant individual or individuals’ within.

A Culture Ministry statement has enthused that the archaeologists have partly excavated a mound that has yielded a ‘very remarkable’ marble-faced wall from the late 4th century BC.

Experts believe the ancient artificial mound could contain the remains of the king, or is at least an important royal Macedonian grave. […]

MSN then takes things to their illogical conclusion and cites the Daily Mail as the source for its brief item:

If found, the tomb of Alexander the Great would be one of the world’s greatest treasures. Now, archaeologists think they may have found it — not in Egypt, as long believed, but in Greece, around 400 miles north of Athens in the ancient city of Amphipolis. There researchers discovered “an impressive wall,” lined with marble, that might shield a “royal grave” for the 4th-century BC warrior king, whose distinctions include creating one of the biggest empires the world has ever seen. Alexander died young, perhaps at 32, after becoming ill or being poisoned

In short (or TL:DR), no archaeologist has actually made any suggestion that Alexander the Great might be buried in this mound. The only coverage where archaeologists have actually said anything comes back in October and then in March. All this speculation seems to have been made by some reporter at Greek Reporter with too much time on his hands who probably was chatting with some business folks in Serres who are trying to get some tourist bucks while the Culture Ministry was quick to try to bring some sanity back. Sadly, however, other news outlets ran-with-scissors-like to make this into the silliness we’ve witnessed these past few days and, no doubt, will see more in the next few.

By the way, if you’re new to this Alexander Tomb business, you might want to check out some of our previous posts:

… I could give more, but you get the idea. I’ll just sit here and let my mind boggle a bit more …