The archaeologist leading the dig at the ancient tomb in Amphipolis, northern Greece, said on Saturday that the site had once been open to the public but was later sealed, although this did not protect it from raiders who stole many items.
“It is certain there was damage and plundering in ancient times as it was a large monument that people could visit,” said Katerina Peristeri (photo) at a news conference.
Peristeri refused to be drawn on the possible identity of the skeleton found inside the tomb, which dates to the era of Alexander the Great, despite earlier comments that a top Macedonian general was the most likely occupant.
“I had said some time ago that with a lion on top of such a massive monument, it could be the tomb of a general,” said Peristeri. “When the skeleton was found, an archaeologist could never say if it is a man or a woman.”
The results of tests on the remains are expected in several months. Peristeri said that the skeleton was in “poor condition.” She dismissed rumors that Amphipolis could have been the burial place of Alexander the Great.
“I do not respond to conspiracy theories about Alexander the Great being buried there,” she said.