Another lavish Macedonian burial found in Greece

Silver vessels used for burial in AigaiArchaeologists excavating the ruins of Aigai, the royal seat of Macedonian kings like Alexander the Great and his father, Philip II, have uncovered two large silver vessels, one of which contains human remains.

This is the second time bones have been found in containers in the middle of town rather than in the nearby cemeteries. Last year the bones were found along with a gold wreath. This time, in a handsome silver vessel similar to others found in the royal tumulus decades ago.

So clearly the people re-interred in these places were wealthy, possibly Macedonian aristocrats, possibly even members of the royal family.

Archaeologist Stella Drougou said the new find is “very important, as it follows up on last year’s.”

“It makes things very complex,” she said. “Even small details in the ancient texts can help us solve this riddle. We (now) have more information, but we lack a name.”

Drougou told The Associated Press that the fact the funerary urns were not placed in a proper grave “either indicates some form of punishment, or an illegal act.”

“Either way, it was an exceptional event, and we know the history of the Macedonian kings is full of acts of revenge and violent succession.”

The remains in the silver vase have not yet been analyzed, so we don’t know the date, gender, age of the deceased.

One of the excavators speculates that the bones found last year belonged to Alexander the Great’s illegitimate son, Heracles. He was assassinated and buried in a secret location during the wars of succession after Alexander’s death.

There’s no way to know for sure, though. All we know is they were the bones of a teenaged male, but without an inscription or some other specific evidence of identity, speculation is all we’ve got.

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9 Comments »

Comment by Clutch
2009-09-01 10:27:50

It’s hard to say why, but it makes me sad to think about the way that children of great historic figures were often hunted down and exterminated — Caesarion, say, or the sons of Alexander.

Of course, it’s not surprising — great historic figures often being noteworthy chiefly for their success at mass homicide. But it would have been so interesting to see what a child of Alexander and Roxana, or Barsine for that matter, or a child of Caesar and Cleopatra, would have turned out like or accomplished.

On the other hand, we might suppose that the question is substantially answered by the probability that these guys had plenty of really unrecognized children along the campaign trails, where in the first instance only the mothers knew who the father had been, and there’s no particular reason to suspect a trend of them going on to do anything very amazing.

Comment by livius drusus
2009-09-01 13:04:34

I think about that too. They probably would have been hopelessly hobbled by the memory of their superior parents, or, say, run off to play in the Crusades for decades avoiding their responsibilities.

 
Comment by Emma O W
2009-09-02 01:22:19

I suspect that it wasn’t so much vengeance for homicide, so much as a fear that the child would avenge their parent’s death and/or make claims to dynastic power. It’s easier to get rid of a small child than a young general with an army and around whom supporters of his parents rally.

I’m not sure we’d let the son of a powerful dictator live even today. :confused: I mean, we’d make a big deal out of our civilised behaviour by not blaming the innocent child, but would he have lived to see another birthday if there was anyone to rally around him or raise him with the memory of his father?

Comment by livius drusus
2009-09-11 10:50:56

I think so, if only because otherwise they’d just clone him in South America in preparation for a glorious new reich. :giggle:

Seriously, you’re right that killing dynastic pretenders has been a stable industry for thousands of years. It makes sense, from a preventative perspective.

 
 
 
Comment by LadyShea
2009-09-01 10:42:12

I want to be put in a lovely silver vase to be found centuries later.

Comment by livius drusus
2009-09-01 13:05:35

Me too! Except I want to be cremated. Maybe I’ll pick a bone that fits handily in the urn just to give future archaeologists something to gnaw on, so to speak.

Comment by Mr Lemming
2009-09-10 17:16:11

Funny that even while we are so interested in archaeology we would/will still essentially withdraw ourselves from the future runnings of discovery through cremation. I also want to be cremated, because I don’t see a point in taking up a lot of space (badumdum) with my dead ass once I’m done with it.
I suppose if you believe our current civilization secure enough to only increase knowledge rather then lose it (think math in the Dark Ages) then this would be moot.
But, I’m not positive that we won’t kill 99% of ourselves someday through some in/direct means or another and so can easily picture an archaeologist 1,000 years down the line digging all us cremated people up and being annoyed at the rarity of a full 21st century skeleton for study. :lol:

Wow, long post! Sorry! (not really) :p

Comment by livius drusus
2009-09-11 11:00:53

Maybe I’ll have myself decapitated and burn the rest just so archaeologists can find my skull grinning at them on top of the ash pile.

And I’m glad you’re not really sorry. So there. :p

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Comment by Mr Lemming
2009-09-11 13:09:19

^ :lol:

I wonder if they would even do that for you, requested or not? It seems like all the ‘weird’ and eccentric requests only get honored by close friends and family under cover of darkness. Leave it up to the authorities and some snaggle of red tape or another will quickly void your final requests.

Reminds me of Einstein’s brain, and all he wanted was a simple cremation! :lol: That’s what you get for being a genius, I suppose.

http://www.stevenlevy.com/index.php/einsteins-brain/

 
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