Working in the wake of grave robbers, archaeologists in Epirus have discovered a monumental, 2,300-year-old tomb that served as the center of a hero cult into Christian times, the Culture Ministry said yesterday. The subterranean, rectangular tomb of the Macedonian type at Palaioklissi, near Aghios Dimitrios in the Dodona area, had been plundered during an illicit excavation some time before May 2001, a ministry statement said. It did not mention any finds having survived. In September and October, archaeologists investigated the monument, of which most of the arched, stone-constructed roof was destroyed by grave robbers. The tomb, which probably dates to the late 4th or 3rd century BC contained a single death chamber about five meters square in area. It was well-built but lacking in ostentatious ornamentation. A large building built on top of the grave has been interpreted as the focus of a local hero cult, which appears to have survived through early Byzantine times.