Scientists ‘photograph’ Olympiada in the tomb of Amphipolis

By Spiros Sideris

A new round of interpretations opens with the conclusions of the study of skeletal residues of the burial monument on the hill Kasta in Amphipolis. Of the five skeletons that were discovered it was revealed that they belong to a woman over 60, two men (35-45 years), an infant and a male who had been burned and there are still a few elements remaining.

The study of DNA will show if there are kinship ties among the dead. However, the prevalent scenario according to scientists of the Greek Ministry of Culture refer to Olympiada, mother of Alexander the Great as the woman who was found buried. “The only woman who could justify the existence of the Lion at the top of the hilltop is the mother of Alexander. Olympiada had been in charge of an army in two occasions; once of the Mollosons (of whom she originated) and once of the Macedonians by marriage with Philip II. She moved against Cassander as leader of the Macedonians and let’s not forget that she led the Army of Epirus when she needed to face him, in order to strengthen the position of the small at the time son of Alexander.

The scraping of the bones is attributed, accordance to the estimates of the interdisciplinary team which investigated material (Universities Aristotle and Democritus), to grave robbers’ activity. “It is clear now that the scrambling can be attributed to them”. Now for the coexistence of the newborn, the two men and the ashes of the male next to the elderly woman, they will become “food” for historians and other scientific disciplines. “Besides, the children of Cassander and Thessaloniki (half sister of Alexander) were grandchildren of Olympiada. And as mentioned by historical sources they killed each other”, archaeologists point out.

Woman in menopause

The woman is estimated, according to the sex determination made under specific indicators – to be over 60 years old, height 1.57m, as shown by the long-bone measurements. Indeed, the largest number of bones found in the cist tomb belong to the female skeleton.

Death by a sharp instrument

The men are thought to be between 35-45 years of age.

It is noted that the relatively youngest of the two males, with a height calculated at 1.68 m, bear cut marks on the left and upper thoracic area, on two bones and to the cervical vertebra, as well as to the lower surface of the sternum end of the left clavicle. They were consistent with aggressive blows-injuries, which should have been caused by contact with a sharp instrument eg knife and were the cause of his death, since they do not appear to have healed.

The second man, with a height of 1.62 to 1.63m, is slightly older than the first, has evidence transverse fully healed fracture in his right radius, relatively close to the right wrist. Moreover, both men have degenerative osteoarthritis and spondylitis lesions in different parts of their skeletons.

The infant

The fourth person is a newborn, but scientists were unable to determine the sex, since the morphological characteristics of sex discrimination in the bones of infants are not clear.

The ashes

From the fifth person are saved just only nine (9) fragments, especially long bones, that bare all deformations and discolorations (off white and blue / gray) (photo) found in cases of complete combustion incarnate dead and probably belongs to an adult person.

The general condition the skeletal residues were found point to the scraping from anthropogenic interference, which apparently involved both the inside the space 4 and inside the cist tomb.

A number of analytical methods in the skeletal findings of the burial monument of the Kasta hill castes will give more information for better documentation, relating to pathological deteriorations, their diet, the affinity and the place of origin of these people, ie whether they are people who were born and raised Amphipolis or people who have moved from somewhere else in their lives and were buried in this tomb.

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