Saturday, February 18, 2006

More discoveries in Macedon

(copied from
sc_afp/greecearchaeology_060216191331 in its entirety)

Archaeologists unearth Alexander the Great era wall
Thu Feb 16, 2:13 PM ET

Athens (AFP) - Greek archaeologists excavating an ancient Macedonian city in the foothills of Mount Olympus have uncovered a 2 600-metre defensive wall whose design was "inspired by the glories of Alexander the Great", the site supervisor said on Thursday.

Built into the wall were dozens of fragments from statues honouring ancient Greek gods, including Zeus, Hephaestus and possibly Dionysus, archaeologist Dimitrios Pantermalis told a conference in the northern port city of Salonika, according to the Athens News Agency.

Early work on the fortification is believed to have begun under Cassander, the fourth-century BC king of Macedon who succeeded Alexander the Great. Cassander is believed to have ordered the murders of Alexander's mother, wife and infant son, Pantermalis said.

The wall's design suggests that it was "inspired by the glory of Alexander the Great in the East", as the young king sought to emulate grandiose structures encountered during his campaigns, Pantermalis told the conference.

Bronze coins from the period of Theodosius, the 4th-century AD Byzantine Emperor who abolished the ancient Olympic Games, were also found hidden inside the wall.

The discovery was made in the archaeological site of Dion, an ancient fortified city and key religious sanctuary of the Macedonian civilisation, which ruled much of Greece until Roman times.

Prior excavations at Dion have already revealed two theatres, a stadium, and shrines to a variety of gods, including Egyptian deities Sarapis, Isis and Anubis, whose influence in the Greek world grew in the wake of Alexander's conquest of Egypt.

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