Ancient Greek tomb discovered in 1977 is confirmed to contain the remains of King Philip II

17-02-2024 11:43 AM

Ammon News - Nearly 50 years ago, archeologists made an awesome discovery when excavating the ancient town of Vergina in northern Greece.

They found three royal tombs containing remains of the family of Alexander the Great, dating back to the 4th century BC.

At the time, they were deemed to be the great warrior's father, son and elder half brother.

But according to scientists, the father and the half brother have been caught up in a case of mistaken identity that has lasted since.

In a new study, the experts now 'conclusively' reveal that the skeleton long identified as belonging to the half brother is in fact the father, and vice versa.

Unfortunately, the resting place of Alexander the Great himself remains a mystery.

The new study was led by Antonios Bartsiokas, professor of anthropology at the Democritus University of Thrace in Greece.

'The skeletons studied are among the most historically important in Europe,' Professor Bartsiokas and colleagues say.

'We have focused our discussion on the scientific facts and historical evidence that impacts acceptance or rejection of the location of King Philip II of Macedonia.'

Alexander III, commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king of Macedon, a state in northern ancient Greece between 336 and 323 BC – and is today considered one of history's most successful military commanders.

His father, Philip II of Macedon, ruled the ancient kingdom before him, from 359 BC until his assassination in 336 BC.

While the resting place of Alexander the Great is unknown, researchers discovered three tombs at Vergina in 1977 – referred to as tombs I, II and III.

At the time, archeologists proposed they contained the remains of Alexander the Great's father (Philip II), his son (Alexander IV) and his half-brother (Philip III of Macedon).

But which tomb contained which person has been a 'long-running debate', according to the study.

Most scholars agree that Tomb III belongs to Alexander IV, the teenage son of Alexander the Great, but 'strenuous debate' over the other two tombs 'continues unabated'.

To settle the debate, researchers studied X-rays of the skeletons and referred to ancient writings about each figure, including their anatomical characteristics and any physical issues.

They conclusively identified Tomb I as containing Alexander the Great's father and Tomb II to contain Philip III of Macedon – not the other way around as previously assumed.

Tomb I contains the remains of a woman and a baby, who the researchers say are Philip II's young wife Cleopatra and their newborn child.

Professor Bartsiokas agrees that this should've been a 'giveaway', but instead scholars got her identity wrong.

'They speculated the female was Euridice [Philip III's wife] but they did not offer any explanation for the newborn,' he told MailOnline.

'It is a well-established fact in the ancient sources that Cleopatra was assassinated along with her newborn child.'

Crucially, documents reveal Philip II of Macedon suffered a severe traumatic injury to the left knee, which the skeletal evidence corroborated.

'A knee fusion was found in the male skeleton of Tomb I consistent with the historic evidence of the lameness of King Philip II,' the new study points out.

'These conclusions refute the traditional speculation that Tomb II belongs to Philip II.'

Meanwhile, no evidence of trauma the knee was found in the male skeleton of Tomb II.

What's more, Philip II was known to have an eye injury that blinded him, but there were no signs of this from the remains in Tomb II.

Unfortunately, there were no signs of the damaged eye in Tomb I either, as that part of the skull has not been preserved.

But Professor Bartsiokas and colleagues think the available evidence is clear – and that Alexander the Great's father is in Tomb I.

'We have provided compelling evidence from multiple sources that shows conclusively that Philip II was buried in Tomb I,' they say.

'Our hypothesis of Philip II in Tomb I remains unchallenged in peer-reviewed literature and we believe the available evidence is conclusive.'

Daily Mail

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