Culture Ministry official Lina Mendoni says it could take more than eight months for experts to complete test on the human remains found in the ancient tomb being excavated in Amphipolis, northern Greece.
The ministry’s general secretary told Skai TV that authorities have not yet assigned the task of conducting the tests to a university or other organisation.
Mendoni said that most of the field work at Amphipolis has been completed but that archaeologists still had plenty of work ahead in terms of assessing what has been found at the site.
Archaeologists are discussing the possibility of comparing the DNA of the remains from the tomb in Vergina of Philip II of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great, with the remains found in Amphipolis.
Mendoni said the challenge was no easy one as the bones found at Amphipolis had been burned and the remains at Vergina were discovered more than 50 years ago, when conservation procedures were less thorough.
The grave was found 1.60 metres beneath the third chamber floor. The outer dimensions are 3.23 metres by 1.56 metres and inside the grave there is a hollow part 0.54 metres wide and 2.35 metres long. It is estimated that the height of the grave was 1.80 metres. Also, the total height from bottom to ceiling is 8.90 metres.
Archaeologists have announced that inside the grave there was a wooden coffin containing a whole human skeleton. The implication of the coffin derives from the fact that inside the grave there were about 20 iron and copper nails and several coffin decorations made of bone and glass.
Inside the grave, the human skeleton found was almost intact. The skeleton will be transferred to a laboratory for a DNA test to determine the sex and age of the dead.
According to the Greek Ministry of Culture, the Kasta hill burial monument is the biggest ever built in Macedonia, made of the largest quantity of marble ever used. It is an extremely expensive public work, impossible to have been funded by a civilian.
It is certain that the person buried inside the tomb was considered a hero at the time. He or she was a prominent member of Macedonian society. This is the only explanation considering the tremendous cost of the monument.
Source: Kathimerini, Greek Ministry of Culture