The archaeologist leading the excavation works at the Amphipolis site in northern Greece, which a year ago had the world on edge as to the identity of the person buried there, revealed last week, that the ancient tomb may belong to a close companion of Alexander the Great, Hephaestion.
“We surmise it was a funerary heroon (hero worship shrine) dedicated to Hephaestion,” Katerina Peristeri told reporters, adding however that she did not know if he was buried inside.
The largest tomb discovered in the country, the Amphipolis site has thus far produced among others sculptures of sphinxes and caryatids, mosaics and coins depicting Alexander the Great… but also scientific and political controversy as to the identity of the person buried there and the historic timeframe of the burial ground.
Peristeri said last week that three inscriptions had been found with Hephaestion’s monogram. But Mrs Peristeri’s findings have been called into question by archaeology professor Panagiotis Faklaris, who has worked for 36 years at the excavations at Vergina.
“This is a funerary monument with tombs inside, while Hephaestion was not buried in Macedonia.”
Mr Faklaris added that there was no evidence that Alexander the Great had ordered the construction of the monument.
Meanwhile, the culture ministry said that it was moving ahead with measures for the protection of the Amphipolis site. The ministry said that 250,000 euros have already been allotted for the works.