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Vergina a small town in northern Greece, located in the prefecture of Imathia, Central Macedonia. The town bacame famous in 1977 when the Greek archaeologist Andronikos Manolis unearthed what he claimed was the burial site of the kings of Macedon, including the tomb of Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great. Population: about 2,000 people.

THE MUSEUM AND THE ARTIFACTS
The first excavations on the site were carried out in the 19th century by the French archaeologist L. Heuzey and were resumed in the 1930's, after the liberation of Macedonia, by K. Rhomaios. After the Second World War, in the 1950's and 1960's, the excavations were directed by M. Andronicos, who investigated the cemetery of the tumuli. At the same time, the Palace was excavated by the University of Thessalonike and part of the necropolis by the Archaeological Service of the Ministry of Culture. In 1977, M. Andronicos brought to light the royal tombs in the Great Tumulus of Vergina (Megale Toumba). The most remarkable of these was the tomb of Philip II (359-336 B.C.) and its discovery is considered to be one of the most important archaeological events of the century. Since then, acontinuing excavations have revealed a series of significant monuments.

Immediately after the discovery of the royal tombs, in 1977, restoration work was begun for the exquisite wall paintings they included. A conservation laboratory was organized on the site in order to preserve and restore the priceless objects included in the tombs, such as couches made of ivory, gold and bone, metal vases etc. In 1993 was completed the subterranean structure that protects the tombs by retaining the stability of the temperature and humidity, which is necessary for the preservation of the wall paintings. As seen from outside, this building looks exactly like an ancient earthen tumulus. The most important monuments are:

  • THE ROYAL TOMBS IN THE GREAT TUMULUS: This group includes three Macedonian tombs and one cist-grave. One of them was the tomb of king Philip II and another probably belonged to king Alexander IV. These two graves were found unplundered and are lavishly decorated with splendid wall paintings, made by great and famous artists.
  • THE PALACE AND THE THEATER: These two important monuments are parts of the same complex, dated to the 4th century B.C. The palace is organized around a large, central peristyle court and comprises a circular shrine (Tholos) dedicated to Herakles Patroos, and luxurious banquet halls for the king and his officers. One of these rooms includes a fine mosaic floor.
  • THE TEMPLE OF EUKLEIA: It lies to the north of the theatre and includes two temples of the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C., a monumental peristyle and a series of offerings among which two bases of the votive statues dedicated by queen Eurydice, grandmother of Alexander The Great.
  • THE ACROPOLIS AND THE CITY WALLS: It is located on a steep hill to the south of the settlement. The fortification wall extends to the east of the city. Excavations on the acropolis have revealed parts of the circuit wall and Hellenistic houses in the enclosed area. The fortification of Aigai dates to the early Hellenistic period (end of 4th-beginning of 3rd century BC).
  • THE ROYAL TOMBS (to the NW of the city): Two Macedonian tombs are included in this group, the so-called "Rhomaios Tomb", an Ionic, temple-shaped structure, dated to the beginning of the 3rd century B.C. and the "Tomb of Eurydice", which probably belongs to the mother of Philip II and is dated to ca. 340 B.C. To the same group also belong three cist-graves dating from the 5th and 4th centuries B.C., as well as four pit-graves of the late Archaic period.
  • THE TOMBS IN THE BELLA TUMULUS: Three Macedonian tombs and one cist-grave dating from the Hellenistic period were found in the tumulus. One of the Macedonian tombs is decorated with an interesting wall painting and another contains an elegant marble funerary couch.
  • THE CEMETERY OF THE TUMULI: This is the imposing necropolis of the Iron Age (11th-8th centuries B.C.), which includes more than 300 small earthen tumuli, constructed over clusters of burials which contained rich offerings.

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The golden larnax and the golden grave crown of Philip

 

The entrance to the "Great Tumulus" Museum

 

The Tomb of Alexander IV of Macedon