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Listed 14 sub titles with search on: Archaeological sites  for wider area of: "EGES Ancient city IMATHIA" .

Archaeological sites (14)

Ancient monuments

The 'heroon' at Aigai

EGES (Ancient city) IMATHIA
  South-east of the Tomb of Philip and next to the Tomb of Persephone, were found the foundations and part of the marble superstructure of a small, possibly temple-plan building dedicated to the worship of illustrious members of the royal family. The 'heroon' was built shortly after Philip's tomb, outside the original tumulus, and may have contained the cult statue of Philip. It appears that the 'heroon' was destroyed in 274/3 BC, when it and the Tomb of Persephone were plundered by the Gaulish mercenaries of Pyrrhos.

By kind permission of:Ekdotike Athenon
This text is cited Oct 2003 from the Macedonian Heritage URL below, which contains image.

Ancient palaces

The Palace at Aigai

  The most imposing palace to have been located in Macedonia was the residence of the Macedonian kings when they returned to their old capital for official ceremonies. The layout reproduces on a grand scale the plan of the ancient Greek 'oikia' (house) with an inner peristyle (columned courtyard) surrounded by rooms.
  The east wing included a monumental entrance, the 'Tholos' (probably a place of worship), and other rooms of unknown purpose. The south wing held the residential rooms proper as well as banqueting halls decorated with mosaic floors. The west wing also contained banqueting halls.
  On the lower north slope there extended a long and narrow veranda in front of the chambers. The building is dated to the second half of the 4th century BC.
The 'tholos' of the palace
The most significant part of the palace at Vergina was the 'Tholos', a circular chamber circumscribed by a square, in the east wing of the building. The 'Tholos' was used as shrine; by extention, it may be regarded as the "Throne Room", since we know that the Macedonian kings held also the position of high-priest. Its ceremonial character is confirmed by a valuable inscription found in it; it read "Heraklei Patroioi" (to Herakles Patroos), and referred to Herakles, mythical progenitor of the Argead dynasty.
The 'oikos' of the palace
The 'oikos', an impressive succession of rooms which constitute the "royal suite", stands out in the south wing of the palace at Vergina. The central chamber opens onto the peristyle and leads to the 'andron' (men's apartments), which is suitable for banquets. These private apartments were decorated with admirable mosaics, only one of which has survived. It is a composition of plants and other decorative motifs radiating from a central flower, and intertwined with symmetric grace. In the corners of the mosaic four female figures are depicted, each carrying a basket on her head. The mosaic is composed of river pebbles in many varying shades of black, white, grey, red and yellow.
The 'andron' of the palace
The greatest part of the west wing of the palace at Vergina consists of three square rooms of equal size opening onto the peristyle; these form the 'andron', the men's appartments in the palace. Their floors are composed of carefully-finished marble inlay surrounded by a slightly raised narrow mosaic border, on which most probably stood couches for banquets. The manner of roofing these very large rooms without using supporting props is very impressive and demonstrates the high degree of knowledge and level of technical expertise of the builders of the palace.
The veranda of the palace
The north wing of the palace at Vergina, now destroyed, consisted of a row of square chambers. Along the entire length of the north wall of this wing there ran a narrow open veranda fronted by a low protecting parapet. This extension added a novel feature to the traditional plan of the closed ancient Greek house by opening it outward. It also constituted a model which was to figure prominently in the history of architecture. The balcony offered the occupants of the building an enchanting view over the entire region of the lower Haliakmon, and the vast Macedonian plain with the cities of Pella in the north and Beroia in the west.

By kind permission of:Ekdotike Athenon
This text is cited Oct 2003 from the Macedonian Heritage URL below, which contains images.

The small palace at Aigai

  The foundations of a large building, consisting of a columned courtyard and rooms opening on the north and west side, were discovered adjacent to the palace at Aigai, abutting on its west side. The building has been repeatedly interfered with, and the few remains which have survived do not permit dating it with exactitude. Archaeologists today believe that it must be the old palace of the city, which the kings preserved out of respect for their past history

By kind permission of:Ekdotike Athenon
This text is cited Oct 2003 from the Macedonian Heritage URL below, which contains image.

Ancient sanctuaries

The temple of Eukleia

  About 80 metres north of the theatre the foundations were uncovered of the 'prodomos' (entrance) and 'sekos' (shrine) of the small temple of Eukleia, dated to the Classical period. Two bases for statues, and sockets for the legs of a "sacred table" for offerings were found in the shrine. Around the temple there are more bases for votive statues, two of which bear the name of Eurydike (wife of Amyntas III and mother of Philip II), a statue of whom has also been uncovered.

By kind permission of:Ekdotike Athenon
This text is cited Oct 2003 from the Macedonian Heritage URL below, which contains image.

The sanctuary of the Mother of the Gods

  A double-chambered edifice (apparently for the initiation ceremonies of worshippers) has been uncovered near the theatre, containing hearths, pits, altars and ducts for libations. The structures which have so far been excavated were built of friable materials and contained votive offerings, clay implements of worship, and the head of a terracotta statue of the mother-goddess.

By kind permission of:Ekdotike Athenon
This text is cited Oct 2003 from the Macedonian Heritage URL below, which contains image.

Ancient theatres

The theatre at Aigai

  The theatre lies barely 60 metres north of the architectural complex of the palaces, of which it is considered a part. Only the first row of seats, the drain, the walls of the side passages, and the foundations of the 'skene' and the 'thymele' were stone-built, whereas on the regular slope the 'cavea' had wooden seating and eight aisles laid with stones to help the spectators climb up the seats. The theatre dates to the second half of the 4th century BC, and continued in use until the second quarter of the 2nd century BC. Here in 336 BC Philip II was assassinated, at the wedding of his daughter Cleopatra to the king of Epirus Alexander.

By kind permission of:Ekdotike Athenon
This text is cited Oct 2003 from the Macedonian Heritage URL below, which contains image.

Ancient tombs

The Royal Tombs at Aigai: a Museum on the Site

A new proposal for exhibiting the finds at the site of the excavation

The Great Tumulus at Aigai

  West of the prehistoric Cemetery of the Tumuli, Manolis Andronikos excavated a tumulus of exceptional dimensions (diameter 330 ft, average height 36 ft). This had been constructed by Antigonos Gonatas to cover and protect the unique and unquestionably royal tombs (one of which has been plundered) of Philip, of the Prince, and of Persephone, one ruined tomb with a frontal colonnade of four columns, as well as the 'heroon' (a shrine dedicated to the worship of the illustrious dead).
The Tomb of Philip
  This is a double-chambered 'Macedonian tomb' of extensive dimensions, with a barrel-vaulted roof, and Doric facade constructed of limestone and plastered with fine white stucco. The facade of the antechamber is crowned by a painted frieze depicting a hunting scene, while a broad, deep-red band runs round the interior walls. The gold, silver, bronze and iron grave goods in the antechamber and burial chamber (diadem, wreaths, ossuary chests, quiver-and-bow-case, vessels etc.), and the high artistic quality of their craftsmanship (e.g. the ivory decoration of a shield) attest a royal burial.
  The anthropological examination of the skull, showing an injury to the right eye, confirmed the identification of Philip II and dates the tomb to the fourth quarter of the 4th century BC; one of Philip's young wives was buried in the antechamber.
The Tomb of the Prince
  North-west of the Tomb of Philip is the Tomb of the Prince, of a later date and plainer. On the stuccoed Doric facade, beneath the painted frieze which no longer exists, there are two relief shields, which once bore painted decoration. The antechamber is decorated with a frieze of chariots, while the burial chamber contains a wealth of gold and silver items (chiefly banqueting vessels), as well as several ivory objects, all of which attest a royal burial.
  At the same time, the identification of the cremated bones as being those of a youth aged 13 to 14 years points to the son of Alexander the Great and Roxane, Alexander IV, of whose premature demise Cassander had been accused.
The Tomb of Persophone
  This plundered cist tomb, built of limestone and situated at the edge of the Great Tumulus next to the 'heroon', was named Tomb of Persephone because of its painted ornamentation. Prominent among figures of the Fates and of Demeter seated on the "mirthless rock" is a depiction of the abduction of Persephone by the god of the underworld, Pluto. The artistry of execution, strength of conception and restraint of colouring all denote an artist of great talent (perhaps Nikomachos) of the mid-4th century BC; this dating is supported by the sherds of pottery found in the interior of the tomb
The Tomb with Tetrastyle Prostyle Facade
  This tomb is situated north of the 'heroon' and the other three tombs of the Great Tumulus of which it is a part. It is the only 'Macedonian tomb' to have a free standing frontal colonnade, and may be an earlier architectural version of the 'Macedonian tomb'. The greater part of its stonework has been stolen; the only remains are some parts of the stylobate (base of a row of columns) and columns, and a few slabs of its walls.

By kind permission of:Ekdotike Athenon
This text is cited Oct 2003 from the Macedonian Heritage URL below, which contains images.

The prehistoric Cemetery at Aigai

  The prehistoric Cemetery of the Tumuli, situated east of the village of Vergina, covers an area of about 250 acres containing more than 300 small burial mounds or tumuli. It was in use from the early Iron Age (1000-700 BC) until the Hellenistic period (up to the 2nd century BC). In the prehistoric mounds the dead were buried directly in the earth, in oblong shafts radiating outward from a common center. For the men the funeral offerings were weapons, and for the women rich jewellery and numerous vessels. It is probable that the groups of tumuli belonged to different clans, while each tumulus belonged to a particular family.

By kind permission of:Ekdotike Athenon
This text is cited Oct 2003 from the Macedonian Heritage URL below, which contains images.

The tombs north of the palace at Aigai

  North-east of the palace, at the edge of the ancient city of Aigai and near the outskirts of the village of Vergina, two notable 'Macedonian tombs' have been found, the Rhomaios Tomb and the Tomb of Eurydike.
The Romaios Tomb
  The double-chambered Rhomaios Tomb, built of limestone, was named after Professor K. Rhomaios who excavated it. Its facade consists of a double-leaved marble door and four Ionic half-columns supporting a two-tiered entablature with a decorative frieze and a simple triangular pediment. In contrast to the ornamented antechamber, the burial chamber was simply decorated, but contained -- in addition to the limestone couch on which the body was laid -- a richly and artistically crafted marble throne, and an exceptional footstool, with sphinxes carved in the round and painted decoration.
The Tomb of Eurydike
  The unusual Tomb of Eurydike lies slightly east of the Rhomaios Tomb. This double-chambered, barrel-vaulted structure, whose facade has yet to be revealed, is plastered with off-white mortar. One of the short sides of the burial chamber is presented in trompe-l'oeil as a facade with a door and two windows framed by four Ionic half-columns, which support an Ionic three-tiered entablature and a frieze decorated with white palmettes.
  A unique find is the marble throne with its richly carved and painted ornamentation; in particular, the back of the throne, which depicts Pluto and Persephone riding on a quadriga, is truly outstanding.
  The wealth of this tomb, which had been plundered in antiquity, indicates a royal burial; on the basis of chronological data, it is attributed to Philip's mother Eurydike, inscribed dedications of whom have been found in the temple of Eukleia at Aigai.

By kind permission of:Ekdotike Athenon
This text is cited Oct 2003 from the Macedonian Heritage URL below, which contains images.

The Palatitsia tombs

  A group of four 'Macedonian tombs' have been excavated a short distance west of the village of Palatitsia. One is the Heuzey Tomb, and the others are the three tombs in the Bella Tumulus.
The Heuzey Tomb
  The Heuzey Tomb, which dates to the end of the 4th century BC, is one of the earliest examples of the 'Macedonian tomb'. An Ionic architrave, supported by two decorative capitals, adorned the uniform surface of the facade. The doorposts and lintel of the entrance were of marble, as were both leaves of the outer door (today in the Louvre Museum). The inner walls of the double-chambered barrel-vaulted tomb were plastered with stucco in various colours. In the burial chamber there were two limestone couches with painted decoration.
The tombs of the Bella Tumulus
  Three plundered 'Macedonian tombs' under a low tumulus were discovered on the property of the Bella brothers. These three monuments, dated to the 3rd century BC, constitute an important group in the series of monumental 'Macedonian tombs'.
  The biggest, the double-chambered Tomb I, has a paved 'dromos' (passageway) and a facade with architectural decoration. A peculiarity is the flat (rather than vaulted) roof of the antechamber, while the stone couch-sarcophagus in the burial chamber is a valuable find.
  Skilful craftsmanship distinguishes the single-chambered Tomb II; it has a simple facade, adorned by a painting depicting three figures, and a marble throne inside. The small and simple Tomb III has only a small pediment on its facade, but contains an immense sarcophagus in the interior.

By kind permission of:Ekdotike Athenon
This text is cited Oct 2003 from the Macedonian Heritage URL below, which contains images.

Ancient towns

The Archaeological Site of Vergina

  Vergina is a small village located approximately 12 km northeast of Veria. It comprises one of the most significant archaeological sites in Greece. Excavations within the archaeological site of Vergina began by the French archaeologist L. Heuzey in the 19th century, however, the Greek archaeologist Manolis Andronikos began systematically excavating the Tombs of the cemetery during the 50s and 60s. In 1977, he reached a significantly unique discovery: The Great Tumulus of the Great Tumuli. This discovery confirmed that this area constituted Aigai, that is, the first capital of Macedonia. Aigai was renowned for their huge wealth of royal tombs, which were found within the city's vast necropolis (i.e. cemetery). A section of the findings from the tombs can be found within Thessaloniki's Archaeological Museum.
  Three Macedonian tombs and one box shaped tomb are comprised within the Great Tumulus of the Great Tumuli. One of these tombs belonged to King Philip II of Macedonia (336 B.C.). The appearance of two sarcophaguses made from solid gold on the tomb's exterior, which contained purple colored bones or bones wrapped in purple tissue and gold as well as a diadema (i.e. crown) and two ivory portraits, which depicted Philip II and Alexander, convinced archaeologists that the tomb belonged to Philip. The two other Macedonian tombs must have belonged to individuals of high social standing. This is evident from their monumental form, the wealth of the ex-votoes as well as the quality of the scenes drawn in the tomb's interior. The box shaped tomb may have possibly belonged to Alexander IV (310 B.C.). Funeral gifts were not found inside the tomb, since the tomb had been subject to sacrilege. The surfaces of the sides however, were decorated with wealthy wall paintings. The northwest side of Vergina contains a series of other royal tombs. Two Macedonian tombs are comprised, that is, the Roman Tomb which exhibits an Ionic Order (dated back to the 3rd century B.C.) and the Tomb of Evridiki (340 B.C.). One may distinguish, within the funeral chambers' interior, marble doors and a marble throne, even though it is relatively dark. Also, there are three box shaped tombs dated back to the 5th and 4th century B.C. as well as four graves that are dated to the period following the Late Archaic Period.
  On the northeast side of Vergina, there is an extensive tumuli cemetery, the renowned necropolis of the early Iron Age (dated 10th - 7th century B.C.), which is comprised of 300 dirt tumuli. According to evidence from Greek times, in order for the inhabitants in the area to bury their dead, they used many of the tombs. This was either done by using simple graves or tombs built from limestone. According to Plutarch, this cemetery was looted by Galatians during the 3rd century B.C. The same constructed complex contained within: the Palace which was built during the Hellenistic period under the reign of Antigone Gonata (278 - 290 B.C.) and expanded at the end of the 3rd century or beginning of the 2nd century B.C. It consisted of a huge peristyle court surrounded by a Doric colonnade and pillars as well as a circular shrine (Domes) that was dedicated to Hercules Patroos. The floor was paved in decorated by slabs or mosaics within a few of its rooms. Today, only the foundations have been preserved. The high ground that is located on the south side of the settlement upon a steep palace hill remains from the Acropolis walls that have been found. This high ground extended east of the city and included several sections of the Acropolis and its interior.

This text is cited May 2003 from the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs URL below.

The city of Aigai

Perseus Site Catalog


Region: Macedonia
Periods: Hellenistic
Type: Fortified city
Summary: Probably the ancient Macedonian capital of Aigai, with Hellenistic palace and important early Hellenistic royal tombs.

Physical Description:
South of Beroia (ancient Berea) and the Haliacmon river are the remains of an ancient city believed to be ancient Aigai, the capital of Macedonia. The city has fortifications on an acropolis overlooking the settlement and a Hellenistic palace complex.
    The palace is a large complex (ca. 104.5 x 88.5 m.) with rooms arranged around a peristyle court. Many of the rooms seem to have served as dining rooms or androns, many with mosaic floors. On the south side of the palace is a circular room, the "Tholos" which the excavator suggests may have served as a shrine and court of judgement. The complex dates to the end of the fourth century B.C. It appears to have been destroyed by fire in the mid 2nd century B.C. and abandoned. An inscription in the "Tholos" of the palace reads ERAKLEI PATROIOI, "(dedicated) to Herakles the Father" -- i.e. the father of the Macedonian royal house. Nearby are the remains of a theater; a small temple of Eukleia; important defensive walls and gates; and Hellenistic houses. Beyond the palace a large number of tombs, dating from the 10th to the 2nd century B.C. have been discovered. A huge tumulus, 110 m. in diameter and containing at least three Late Classical/Early Hellenistic vaulted tomb chambers, lies on the western edge of the necropolis. Two of the tombs in this tumulus were found unplundered, and Tomb II has been identified as the tomb of Philip II, father of Alexander the Great. These royal burials, with their well-preserved painted decoration and stunning contents, are among the most spectacular recent discoveries of Greek archaeology.
The earliest excavations were by L. Heuzey and H. Daumet in 1861. Additional excavations were carried out in 1937-1940, 1952-1961, and 1965-1968 by C. Romaios, C. Makaronas, G. Bakalakis, and M. Andronikos. Since 1962 M. Andronikos has conducted excavations, uncovering the royal tombs among other discoveries.

Donald R. Keller, ed.
This text is cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 65 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

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