New research effort claims King Phillip II buried in Tomb I not Tomb II

July 21, 2015 by Bob Yirka report
Portrait of King Philip II of Macedonia in his late years, after having received a wound through his left leg by a lance. Credit: Arturo Asensio.

A team of researchers from Greece, Spain and France has found evidence that suggests that the bones of King Phillip II of Macedon—father of Alexander the Great, were those found in Tomb I, not those found in Tomb II at the burial site in Vergina, Macedonia. The team's work and their findings have been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Back in 1977, archeologists discovered ancient at Vergina, and soon thereafter, researchers began offering arguments regarding the identities of the skeletons that were found in them—the focus of most of the attention has been on Tombs I and II, because it is believed they were the final resting place for some of Alexander the Great's relatives—most specifically, his father. Early on, many believed the bones found in Tomb II were his, though the identity of others buried along with him remained a matter of speculation. This theory was further bolstered by work done by a team of researches with results published just this past May. In this new effort, the researchers cite evidence that they believe proves bones found in Tomb I are those of Phillip, and that furthermore, other bones in the same tomb belong to his wife Cleopatra and his newly born baby.

The most striking evidence comes in the form of a leg —an upper thigh fused to a shin at the knee with a hole in it—it appears to align with historical texts that describe Philip as suffering a wound from a lance. Additional testing showed the bone had fused and smoothed over just a few years time, which also agrees with writings from the time—Phillip was murdered just a few years after suffering the injury. Dating showed the skeletal remains to be that of man approximately 45 years old, which is consistent with the age at which Philip reportedly died. The ancient writings also describe Cleopatra as being young, approximately 18 years old at the time of her death, which occurred shortly after Phillip was killed. Dating of the other bones in the Tomb I showed them to be from a woman of just that age range. Also, the early texts describe the baby, which was killed around the same time as well.

In studying the bones in Tomb II, the researchers concluded that they were entombed much later than those in Tomb I, too late for them to have been the remains of Philip. Taken together, the evidence proves that the bones in Tomb I were those of Philip, the researchers claim, suggesting that the matter has finally been settled for good.

Explore further: Skeleton from Greek mystery tomb to be identified next month

More information: PNAS Early Edition DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1510906112
www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/07/15/1510906112.full.pdf

Related Stories

Egypt unearths 3000-year-old tomb in southern city

March 3, 2015

Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities says American archeologists have discovered a 3000-year-old tomb with beautifully painted walls belonging to a nobleman who guarded the temple of the ancient deity Amun.

Ancient coins found in Greece's mystery tomb

November 30, 2014

Coins featuring the face of Alexander the Great have been found at the largest tomb ever unearthed in Greece, where archaeologists are hunting for clues to solve the mystery of who lies buried there.

Greek PM says important tomb found in northern dig

August 12, 2014

Archaeologists excavating an ancient mound in northern Greece have uncovered what appears to be the entrance to an important tomb from about the end of the reign of warrior-king Alexander the Great, officials said Tuesday.

Recommended for you

3-D printed fish fossil may reveal origin of human teeth

September 30, 2016

Three-dimensional prints of a 400 million year old fish fossil from around Lake Burrinjuck in southeast Australia reveal the possible evolutionary origins of human teeth, according to new research by The Australian National ...

Giant dinosaur footprint discovered in Mongolia desert

September 30, 2016

One of the biggest dinosaur footprints ever recorded has been unearthed in the Gobi Desert, researchers said Friday, offering a fresh clue about the giant creatures that roamed the earth millions of years ago.

Game theory research reveals fragility of common resources

September 29, 2016

New research in game theory shows that people are naturally predisposed to over-use "common-pool resources" such as transportation systems and fisheries even if it risks failure of the system, to the detriment of society ...

Ancient reptile fossils claw for more attention

September 29, 2016

Newly recovered fossils confirm that Drepanosaurus, a prehistoric cross between a chameleon and an anteater, was a small reptile with a fearsome finger. The second digit of its forelimb sported a massive claw.

Humans may have occupied Southern Cone 14,000 years ago

September 29, 2016

Humans may have occupied the Southern Cone 14,000 years ago, according to a study published September 28, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Gustavo Politis from CONICET and the Universidad Nacional del Centro de ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.