In Brief

Striking Mosaic Floor Found in Greek Tomb

The newly discovered mosaic in the Kasta tomb in Amphipolis (all images via theamphipolistomb.com)
The newly discovered mosaic in the Kasta tomb in Amphipolis (all images via theamphipolistomb.com)

Last month, archeologists uncovered two oversize marble caryatids and a colorful marble panel in a substantial tomb complex in Amphipolis, Greece. Now, after excavating behind the sealing wall that the caryatids were guarding, they’ve found a chamber with a large and largely intact mosaic floor.

The figure of Hermes in the mosaic (click to enlarge)
The figure of Hermes in the mosaic (click to enlarge)

The vivid blue and gold floor, which measures roughly 15 by 10 feet, depicts Hermes — Greek god of commerce and travel, among other things, as well as the bringer of souls to the underworld — leading a chariot drawn by two horses carrying a man wearing a laurel wreath. The mosaic is comprised of white, black, grey, blue, red, and yellow stones; a sizable section is missing in the center, but apparently enough fragments have been found nearby to allow for at least a partial reconstruction.

Archaeologists remain uncertain about who’s buried in this tomb, discovered last August and named “Kasta” for the hill it sits on. Estimated as dating to around 320–300 BCE, it’s the largest burial monument discovered in Greece, which would indicate an occupant of considerable importance. “Greek media have repeatedly hypothesized that the tomb could belong to Alexander the Great but that is unlikely as the tomb was built after his death and his tomb is believed to be somewhere in Egypt, so current bets are on the general Laomedon, Alexander the Great’s mother Olympias, or his wife Roxana,” International Business Times explains.

The mosaic covers the entire floor of the tomb’s second chamber. Archeologists are now working on excavating the next room, the third chamber, at the end of which is a door that presumably leads to a fourth. Given what’s been uncovered already, that could very well mean more significant finds are on the way. You can read about the excavation process in greater detail on the Amphipolis Tomb website.

The horses
The horses
The man with the laurel wreath
The man with the laurel wreath
Design motif at the top of the mosaic
Decorative motif at the top of the mosaic: a wave pattern and the Greek Key border, also called a Meander
A view of the second chamber mosaic floor and the door to the third chamber at the back
A view of the second chamber mosaic floor and the door to the third chamber at the back
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