Monday, February 16, 2004

Unplundered Royal Mycenaean Tomb Uncovered

"A subterranean tholos tomb was found along with four or five small, box-like cist tombs during construction of a new Volos ring road, according to the Ethnos daily.

Archaeologists have not yet entered the tholos tomb — a monumental structure of the same type as the famous “Tomb of Atreus” at Mycenae, which would have contained the remains of a local ruler. The paper quoted local antiquities director Vassiliki Adrymi as saying the burial appeared to be unplundered by grave robbers.

"According to initial indications, this great funerary monument is sealed and has not been plundered," she said. "We believe it is 6.5 meters high and 8 meters in diameter." This would be about half the size of the Atreus tomb.

At nearby Dimini, some 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) west of Volos, Adrymi has excavated a Mycenaean settlement associated with Iolkos, city of the mythical hero Jason."

The Mycenaean tholos tomb consists of a circular, subterranean burial chamber, sometimes referred to as the thalamos, roofed by a corbelled vault and approached by a dromos (entrance passage) that narrows abruptly at the stomion (doorway) actually opening into the tomb chamber. The chamber or thalamos is built of stone rather than simply being hewn out of bedrock. Tholoi of this kind are usually, though not invariably, set into slopes or hillsides. Burials were either laid out on the floor of the tomb chamber or were placed in pits, cists, or shafts cut into this floor.

See also Mycenaean Tholos Tombs