The Burial of the Dead (at Vergina) or the Unending Controversy on the Identity of the Occupants of Tomb II

Part of : Τεκμήρια ; Vol.9, 2008, pages 91-118

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Few people would disagree that the discoveries made by Professor Manolis Andronikos at Vergina some thirty years ago constituted the most sensational archaeological event of the second half of the twentieth century. Curiously, though, scholars have been singularly reluctant to make use of these extraordinarily rich finds in order to propose new approaches to significant historical riddles, such as the nature of the Macedonian state and society or of the origins of Hellenistic civilisation. The reason is the persistent disagreement among archaeologists concerning the date of the most important of these finds, Tomb II of the Great Tumulus. Thus, instead of using this unique sealed collection of new and diverse material (jewels, furniture, weapons, pottery, painting, sculpture, architecture etc.) in order to reconsider the chronology of the late fourth century, we are still trying to date the tomb on the basis of not always pertinent comparanda. It is true that the issue has been obscured by precipitate announcements, the quest for publicity, political agendas and petty rivalries, which have led to an inconclusive series of down-datings and up-datings, finally disqualifying all the «scientific» criteria —including forensic medicine— invoked. Nevertheless I believe that, though no publication of significant new material is to be expected, reasonable certainty can be attained if the published material is examined in historical context and, above all, is submitted to ordeal by simple common sense.
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