Thursday, October 2, 2014

Greek Ministry of Culture, Press Release 02-10-2014

2 October, 2014

Points of information to the press by Mr. Panagiotarea Anna today at the Museum of Amphipolis:
  1. With the ongoing removal of soil, yesterday sections of a marble door in a form typical of Macedonian tombs was revealed: So, the entire burial sygkrotima is made of [port of Aliki?] Thassos marble - with lentigines [bumps] that mimic the heads of nails [as would be found on wooden doors]. (Photo 1).
  2. On the western side of the doorway is found to exist hinges. The pivot point is the hanging of the door jambs. (Photo 2 project).
  3. Remember the the size of [the previous doorway] openings: Openings of the Caryatids and Sphinxes doorways exactly 1,67m. The opening of the third doorway is 1.50m.
  4. Excavation has revealed the continuity of the side walls, which are no different from previous [places in the monument], namely marble slabs, similar to that present in all areas of the monument.
  5. During the excavation also found in front of the door, behind the Caryatids, bronze and iron nails. We stress that [it can not be assumed that these items belonged to the funerary carriage].
I also want to make two general observations:
  1. As I read in press reports, there is speculation as to whether the archaeological investigation is in accordance with excavation standards, ie, removal of excavation layers in a systematic way; as is clear from the diaries of the excavation, the work is being done in the most appropriate scientific manner.
  2. On how the soil is being removed from the excavation through the grave, note the following: In order to facilitate the excavation and proceed in the best and safest manner possible, [a conveyor is being used to transport the earth out of the monument] as is indeed customary at other excavations.

Technical work:

  1. The floor of the backfill behind the Caryatids has appeared as the coronation of the pedestals on which are based the Caryatids, which is about 1.5 m.
  2. This embankment [of fill material] will remain provisionally retaining the third aperture. It will start to be lowered in combination with the removal of soil from the fourth space.
  3. Please note that space, ie, behind the Caryatids as the third septal wall, placed second phase elements, with strong steel hollow sections [apparently some sort of brace?].
  4. Also, the broken temporarily ypostilothike transom of the third diaphragm, which will be removed to clean and maintain.
  5. In fourth place -who characterized by continuous revetment same type Aliki Thassos marble, like the whole mnimeiou- already implemented on Monday work retaining walls and shoring of the dome for the safety of workers and the monument. It has therefore been concluded that retaining the coronation of the side walls and has begun the installation of shoring the dome with metal tubular beams.
  6. Because of the delicate balance in which the canopy, technical consultants along with the crew trying, with delicate operations to place the prop without disrupting the balance that is created after the external apochomatoseis.
  7. Please note that the prop has been implemented in two thirds of the surface of the dome. The outer embankments located there allow you to develop safer process of shoring. (Photo 3.4).
  8. Shore up used is "passive" ie, activated only in cases where an voussoirs tends to move-which ensures minimal impact on the existing balance of the dome.
  9. You will understand that we are in the hardest part of the work so far carried out for the safety of workers and the monument.
  10. I have noted that the embankment is sloped from south to north, with a height difference of over a meter. In the fourth septal wall an opening is detected, which have also been reported to be of greater depth than previous openings. Technical [investigation] leads to the conclusion that the floor of the fourth area is lower than the floor of the previous chambers, possibly by two meters.
  11. Normally, this indicates the existence of stair or ramp which probably begins after the doorframe of the third aperture.
  12. Supplementary report that has advanced the earthmoving work done on the west side of the monument for lowering the amount and softening the gradient slope.

Question and answer

Question: There is much discussion that the monument was [already] known. Why did you decide to dig a well known monument?
Answer: K. Peristeri: [That's an erroneous claim]. We started in 2012 with the excavation of the enclosure, matching the lion on top of the mound and continued to the grave. Showing [that] people who worked in [this region for] forty years had no idea about this monument.

Question: Is there a schedule of when it has been revealed only 5% of the monument?
Answer: K. Peristeri Very roughly put. The excavation will respond.

Question: Have the new findings of nails and pieces of the door reinforced your estimate of the monument's dating?
Answer: K. Peristeri: When we date the monument [to the last quarter of the 4th century B.C.], we are absolutely sure based on both the enclosure and our findings. A photograph-based dating [cannot provide such certainty]. The nails [have not strengthed the estimate of] dating. We give you all the information to get a clear picture; however, not all of the material is coming out in a press release.

Question: From August onwards, were new gaioskanarismata?
Answer: K. Peristeri: No where ever dig now. There was rubble and Lazaridis have been impossible. It has become the natural hill, where tombs Iron Age and archaic.

Question: You have been doing similar research to Mrs. Koukoulis?
Answer: K. Peristeri: I do not know what she has done. I do not have to file anything relevant Inspectorate. What Mrs. Polymenakos says is not valid. She came in 1992 and did research at the tomb of the fox and the surrounding Macedonian tombs.

Question: There are reports that say that participants in the policy process operators.
Answer: K. Peristeri: No case. Make excavations over 30 years. I love my job. All these are wrong. Unless you mean that I support provides the political leadership of the subgroups in which I serve and I thank them for that.

Question: What do you say Mr. Mendoni?
Answer: I do not understand why we are talking about political exploitation [of the dig]. Led to finding someone to be there found? Why is it political exploitation, because the Culture Minister visits [as part of his job]? Since when is it political exploitation, the fact that the Prime Minister out of interest visits an important monument?

Question: The information gathered so far in the excavation confirms your case for Macedonian tomb. Fallen marbles have also been found. Some architects are suggesting that apochomatosi hurt the marbles.
Answer: K. Peristeri: We did apochomatosi with machines over the grave. But here in 1913 there was a Bulgarian army unit and fighting. I still find shells, possibly causing damage. While in the 6th AD century, we had an earthquake 6.8 on the Richter scale, which changed the course of the River Strymon, causing also damage to the grave.

Question: They entered the tomb?
Answer: C. Peristeri: In ancient times there might have been robbers. But it would have been difficult to get through.
L. Mendoni: Grave robbing was common in antiquity. We have strong evidence that in ancient times there were attempts at looting. We can not know until [we reach the rest of the monument].

Question: When will tourists visit the tomb? Listening for seaplanes?
Answer: C. Peristeri: It is good to have tourists but only once we have finished our work. We need time because there are many steps.
L. Mendoni: Let me remind you that Andronikos excavated in 1977 the great mound in Vergina. However the present form of the [Vergina] museum was completed in 2002. Amfipolis has not only the Kasta tomb. It was one of the most important cities of northern Greece. This excavation provides the opportunity to enter the region into the development map. The heavy stock culture, the cultural landscape of the natural environment should be preserved to the maximum extent.

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