Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Digs at Archontiko, Pella uncover more gold-clad warriors
KATHIMERINI English Edition ^ | 2-23-05 | Iota Myrtsioti

Posted on 02/23/2005 10:30:15 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic

Finds in 141 tombs add to picture of ancient Macedonia

Bronze helmet with gold decoration from a mid-sixth-century-BC warrior’s grave. Many Macedonian officers were buried in full armor, together with swords, spears and knives.

By Iota Myrtsioti - Kathimerini

The gold of the ancient Macedonians still gleams on the soldiers’ uniforms being unearthed by excavations in the ancient necropolis of Archontiko in Pella.

Fully armed Macedonian aristocrats, gold-bedecked women in elaborate jewelry, faience idols and clay vases of exceptional beauty had lain concealed for centuries in 141 simple rectangular trench graves that were discovered recently in the ancient settlement.

For Charon

In their tombs, Macedonian officers wore armor and — in the late Classical and early Hellenistic periods — were equipped for the journey after death with coins for Charon, copper utensils made by local metalworkers, and rare incense or oil containers with the war of the giants depicted in relief.

These are not the first discoveries of gold-embroidered uniforms at Archontiko. Archaeologists Pavlos and Anastassia Chrystostomou from the 17th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities found the first warriors in full armor four years ago while excavating the cemetery.

The contents of the latest 141 tombs to be discovered were presented recently at the ephorate’s archaeological conference.

The typical Archontiko tomb contained gold masks, gold breastplates, clothes and shoes adorned with gold strips, helmets, shields, swords, spears and knives embellished with gold strips or rosettes.

Though only 2 percent of the 20-hectare cemetery has been excavated, the harvest has already been rich.

The dozens of finds help form an image of the socioeconomic organization, burial rituals, high living standard, aristocratic origins and leading role of the families in one of the most significant urban centers of ancient Macedonia from prehistoric times until the end of the fifth century BC.

As the Chrysostomou couple explained, the ancient settlement built in the middle of the plain of Bottiaia, close to the ancient route connecting East and West — later name the Egnatia Road — was one of the most important urban centers before the foundation of the capital of Pella.

This is confirmed by the 541 tombs dating from the Iron Age, through the Classical period and up to the early Hellenistic era (seventh century BC - 280 BC). This year’s investigation of a family cluster (in the broad sense of a clan) produced rich finds, as important as those of previous years.

A trove of grave ornaments was found in the 25 male and 17 female tombs dating to the Archaic era (first half of the sixth century BC to the beginning of the fifth century BC).

The men were mostly in full armor, with helmets adorned with incised gold strips, steel swords with gold on the handles, spears and knives. Gold foil sheets with embossed ornamentation adorn the leather breastplates, clothing, footwear and hand coverings of the warriors. Apart from gold and silver jewelry, numerous other objects, such as bronze and clay vases, clay idols, metal likenesses of farm carts, furniture and spits accompanied the male burials.

These objects present the first impression of a warrior, while the other grave offerings reveal the deceased’s personal and social prestige, two centuries before the rule of Phillip II and Alexander III.

The women were bedecked in jewelry that reveals their high social status. The grave ornaments (clay and metal vases, more rarely of glass of faience, or metal likenesses of carts) are related to the funeral customs of the journey to Hades.

Impressive items among this year’s finds were large silver clasps with disk-shaped heads adorned with rosettes and an 85-centimeter braided chain decorated in a style that predates those of Ephesus, Rhodes, and Eleutherna in Crete.

The necklace went around the chest where it was fastened by pins onto the clothing. It has gilded snake heads, seated lions and the heads of the female divinity Potnia of Thera.

The funeral ornaments in the women’s graves seem to have come to Macedonia from distant places. Among them are faience idols, probably from workshops on Rhodes, and clay vases from Kerameikos in Athens and Corinthian and Ionian workshops.

TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: antiquities; archaeology; archeology; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; greece; history; macedonia

1 posted on 02/23/2005 10:30:21 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: blam


2 posted on 02/23/2005 10:30:52 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

Real Old Stuff PING

3 posted on 02/23/2005 10:34:14 AM PST by martin_fierro (I am not Deep Throat)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: afraidfortherepublic

Already on eBay...

4 posted on 02/23/2005 10:34:21 AM PST by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - They want to die for Islam, and we want to kill them.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: afraidfortherepublic

Thanks. Lots of gold, must have been some real rich people.

5 posted on 02/23/2005 11:28:51 AM PST by blam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: martin_fierro; blam; FairOpinion; Ernest_at_the_Beach; SunkenCiv; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; ...
Thanks martin.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on, off, or alter the "Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list --
Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
The GGG Digest
-- Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

6 posted on 02/23/2005 12:09:11 PM PST by SunkenCiv (last updated my FreeRepublic profile on Sunday, February 20, 2005.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

Reminds me of why I first developed an interest in Anthropology.

7 posted on 02/23/2005 12:12:12 PM PST by BenLurkin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: blam

Questions to ponder:

It would be interesting to know when man (or woman) first became interested in working gold into articles of embellishment. Some ancient gold artifacts are really beautiful.

How did early mankind discover this metal and its many uses? When did this commodity become precious for trade? Surely the ancients preferred food before gold. When did that change?

Did early mankind discover uses for gold throughout the world at approximately the same time? Or did migrations and explorations spread the word about this precious metal?

8 posted on 02/23/2005 12:28:58 PM PST by afraidfortherepublic
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: martin_fierro

I like real old stuff! LOL

9 posted on 02/23/2005 1:02:24 PM PST by ruoflaw
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: afraidfortherepublic

Thank you

10 posted on 02/23/2005 1:50:28 PM PST by Dustbunny (The only good terrorist is a dead terrorist)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv


11 posted on 02/23/2005 3:41:32 PM PST by ValerieUSA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: afraidfortherepublic

They evidently were not believers in the old adage that you can't take it with you.

12 posted on 02/23/2005 3:46:53 PM PST by dog breath
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Carry_Okie

13 posted on 02/23/2005 4:30:11 PM PST by farmfriend ( Congratulations. You are everything we've come to expect from years of government training.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ValerieUSA
I should have looked for "war of the giants" instead, but I like this one:
Fall of the Giants

14 posted on 02/23/2005 10:06:01 PM PST by SunkenCiv (last updated my FreeRepublic profile on Sunday, February 20, 2005.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv


15 posted on 02/23/2005 10:24:22 PM PST by nopardons
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: afraidfortherepublic
"Archontiko in Pella"... a new window on an old tomb.
16 posted on 02/24/2005 9:25:06 PM PST by -=Wing_0_Walker=-
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson