Amphipolis may reveal Alexander the Great’s DNA

Amphipolis may reveal Alexander the Great's DNA

Detail from the Amphipolis tomb.

Academic predicts tomb holds remains of Olympias.

As Greek authorities are reportedly poised to announce the identity of the occupant of the Amphipolis tomb, a British academic says the bones found are likely to be those of a Macedon queen, most probably Olympias, the mother of Alexander the Great.

Andrew Chugg, author of The Quest for the Tomb of Alexander the Great and academic papers on the same subject, has been reporting his analysis of the tomb’s findings since excavations began in August 2014..

Mr Chugg told Neos Kosmos that by cross-referencing information in historical texts with the evidence found so far at the tomb, his findings pointed to a very real chance that Amphipolis is Olympias’ last resting place.

The discovery of a skeleton inside the tomb – which can be DNA tested – Mr Chugg says is a game-changer for identifying the person for who the tomb was built.

Scholars have predicted a female occupant because the mosaic uncovered last year shows a woman being led to the underworld, Experts have said that the tomb could also hold the remains of Roxane, Alexander the Great’s wife.

Both women were put to death by Alexander’s general Cassander as he secured the throne of ancient Macedonia.

“DNA will not identify Olympias specifically,” said Mr Chugg, “but it will discriminate easily between Olympias and Roxane.

“It is also the blueprint for the individual. It tells you a lot about their gender, appearance and ancestry. If it is Olympias, then this will be tantamount to having the DNA of Alexander himself”.

Mr Chugg, who has made a number of successful predictions as the Amphipolis tomb has been revealed (such as the presence of a Persephone character in the tomb’s mosaic) – says that analysis of the bones – including carbon dating – will confirm gender and age, and that tooth enamel tests will provide further information on the deceased’s life.

“If it is a woman in her fifties that will confirm that it is Olympias, subject to the archaeologists having got the dating of the tomb right, and all indications are that they have.

“If the occupant is Olympias, then that will be a large part of the DNA of Alexander. It is tantamount to finding his body, and would make this the most important archaeological discovery since Tutankhamun”.

Media in Greece have reported that the Greek Ministry of Culture will make an announcement concerning the identity of the tomb’s occupant on January 20.

source: Neos Kosmos

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