In a press conference following the recent discovery of a stunning mosaic in the Kasta Hill tomb of ancient Amphipolis, Lena Mendoni, general secretary of the Greek Ministry of Culture, and Katerina Peristeri, head of the Amphipolis archaeological team, revealed the latest revelations concerning the progress of ongoing excavations.
Mendoni said that the scene of the abduction of Persephone gives archaeologists great certainty that the occupant of the mysterious tomb is a member of the Macedonian royal family.
“We have also found the scene of the abduction of Persephone in the mural of the so-called tomb of Persephone at the royal cemetery at Vergina, Greece. We have a second display of Pluto and Persephone, in a sacred marriage scene at the backrest of the marble throne found at the tomb of Eurydice, mother of Philip, in Aeges. The scenes are linked with the cults of the underworld, the Orphic cult-descent into Hades and the Dionysian rites. The leader of the Macedons was always the archpriest of these cults.
“I remind you of the recent survey of the National Centre for Scientific Research “Demokritos” for residues of the mask found in the remains of bones of Philip. According to experts, the mask was the one that Philip wore during Orphic rites. Therefore, the mosaic scene in Amphipolis has a symbolic importance, which may indicate that there is a relationship of the “tenant” of the tomb with the Macedonian royal family. The political symbolism is very strong at all times.”
Peristeri: Mosaic is unique of its kind
Peristeri, head of the Kasta Hill excavation team, weighed in on the importance of the newly-uncovered mosaic:
“We are very happy to have found such an amazing tomb, a really great burial complex, and even more proud and happy to have found a mosaic, which is unique. The mosaic dates back to the last quarter of the 4th century BC, with a unique scene which depicts the soul-escorting Mercury, Pluto and Persephone. It is definately the work of a great artist and it is a safe assumption to make that it is the tomb of a very important personality. “