Letters at Amphipolis Confirmed

Mrs Mendoni has confirmed that the letter I pointed out in a photo is indeed there, and probably a mason's mark dating the building. Press report here.

I'm going to stop using puns like "hold your horses" which just means to be patient, but which I realise is open to interpretation ... and try to be clear.

This sort of mark is not like seeing things in clouds, but is easy to spot if you're an archaeologist - and that's why I've been trying to explain the finds.

That's the easy part - doing the research and explaining the finds, and it is very easy for me to do from the photos being released without being on site. It doesn't need leaks if you're good at what you do, and can recognise something seen on many other buildings.

The hard work is what those on the site are doing - not just Dr Peristeri and architect Lefantzis, who get the credit, but every single person on the team including the too often overlooked technicians who are some of the most skilled in the world.


  1. DO you think is a coincidence they chose to publish this specific photo with the mark on it ?

  2. I don't think there's a conspiracy!

    I spotted it in the first photo I looked at because I've seen similar on other buildings, and ... well to me it's obvious, but I'm slightly shocked no-one else could see it except for someone on Twitter who asked about another photo (can't remember which one, but think it was near the sphinxes)

    My guess is they might have had a hard time finding blocks to release photos without visible carving ;-)

  3. Do you feel a bit "jealous" for not being there? I feel so everytime i read something not only for Amphipolis but anywhere ... :)

  4. Me? No.

    They offered to let me come on the dig several times, and I couldn't - last summer my good friend was diagnosed with cancer and I stayed with her until she died in November, my Mr died in an accident and then my father was ill so I nursed him. This year I had glandular fever. That's possibly too much info, but I chose to put family and all that first.

    Honestly, I was just thrilled with what they found, and I'm sure they'll find a lot more.

    The only thing I was pissed about is the claims of leaking - because it's more likely that came from journalists greasing palms. It's insulting to the brilliant archaeologists and it's insulting to me (I can see perfectly well plenty in the photos).

    Plenty more is waiting to be found there, so don't despair or think they've hit a brick wall ;-)

    I'm happy I managed to explain some of the finds to people, and that was meant to be my role on this dig!

    Plus ... I'm working on another site, again remotely. It's the new thing for archaeologists with the flu!

  5. 1) What kind of site?
    2) How do you see the opinion that there is a floor over the tomp?
    3) What do u think of the opinion that the tomp was flooded by a tsunami and the soil came from that? wouldnt the water have oxidised the colours?
    I hope the best of your health... Next time you come to greece buy some mountain tea and some dictamus ... they are life saviors... or i can send some to a po box...

  6. Oh, a different fourth century tomb in another country ;-)

    A floor over the tomb? I'm not sure I understand the question. If you mean access then even temples and sanctuaries were open to some but not all, with priests controlling access.

    No, a tsunami probably destroyed Atlantis but not Amphipolis - the walls to hold the soil in are clearly the work of man.

    The bright colours are interesting as we know for example the Parthenon was repainted every once in a while - soil preserved them to some extent, and the issue will be for the technicians to keep them one the air dries out. In China lacquer boxes have been found perfectly preserved in water logged tombs, but they used to 'die' when taken out of the water so a technique was developed to preserve them.

    Thank you!

  7. Please tell more about the tomb...
    In the questions followed after the press realease the ministry secretery pointed out that in this room instead of a wall that holds/ seperates the soil in each room that probably this "wall" is layed down as a floor and thus this is the reason we have so many destruction on the floor...

  8. Two points should be made regarding your discovery (http://phdiva.blogspot.fr/2014/10/quick-answers-about-amphipolis.html):

    1) The mark on the block is NOT a letter or a monogram.

    2) The monograms on the coins ARE in fact mint marks or the monograms of the official in charge of the minting. They have absolutely nothing to do with the Issuing Authority - in this case the Issuing authority is Alexander, whose name is clearly denoted in full letters to the right.

    3) The Greek ministry of Culture later "admitted" that there are masons mark on blocks in the monument. It did not say that this "mark" is actually a letter or monogram.

    You have thus managed to link an inexistant mark with mint monograms on coins proving...?

    Thank you for your entertaining attempts at internet archaeology...

  9. I would like to point out that there are also other letters appearing in the official fotos released by the ministry.Specifically in the foto showing the fully uncovered left caryatide (the one with the face covered with polyester and a red banner),you can clealry see some greek letters in the dress.Tell me what you think.
    p.s this is the official link (first foto of the lower group)


  10. Yes, there are letters elsewhere, and I'm sure they will publish them when they've worked out what they say.

    The monogram pointing out came out of a discussion I had on Twitter, and whilst there are quite a few - mostly I think Antigonus as at Troy - there is other writing, and that's where people will have to wait.


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