Vergina: Found the death mask of King Philip II

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Vergina: Found the death mask of King Philip II

He was wearing this mask when was alive and as a sign of honor they put it on his face before burning.

A very important new finding brought to "light" archaeologists in Aegae specifically in Tomb II. It is the mask, which the king of the Macedonians used to wear, as a high priest of the Orphic mysteries.

The traces of huntite and Tyrian purple which were found in the 350 bones and bone fragments in the two golden urns, confirm the notion that the dead person was wearing an elaborate artifact, which he wore in life and as a sign of honor and recognition of his tender, put it on his face before the burning.

According to the newspaper "Ethnos" the new finding, together with the other findings from the quadrennial research of material from the grave, will be presented at a ceremony at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki by the Interdisciplinary Team of University Excavation of Vergina.


The Director of Research and Head of the Laboratory of Archaeometry of Dimokritos, Yiannis Maniatis, who identified the huntite and Tyrian purple, he believes that it was a mask. "It was a complicated fabric artifact, which was found for the first time in Macedonia. It was well crafted with 6-7 layers of materials, huntite and Tyrian purple, and Philip was wearing this in religious ceremonies, possibly as high priest of the Orphic mysteries. It was a personal and sacred object that accompanied the dead and was cremated with him", said Mr. Maniatis, in the "Ethnos" newspaper.

The study of the material weakens the theory that it was a piece of cloth which wrapped the bones before the burning and enhances the theory of the mask, but questions remain about the origin of huntite, as it is a material extremely scarce. For this reason Mr. Maniatis continues his research with the study of burials of other influential figures of Macedonia.
A similar study is been conducted by the archaeologist Demosthenes Kechagias, who studies the prints of fabric found in bone material. As Mr. Kechagias told us, his preliminary study is concerning the residues of purple cloth which wrapped the bones of the dead, and is an ancient practice, but is very rarely in Macedonia.


At the same event, the anthropologist Theodore Antikas, will present the new findings on the skeletons of the tomb, which shows most clearly that the dead are Philip II and the daughter of the Scythian king, Atheas.

Speaking at the "Ethnos", Mr. Antikas said that the anthropological analysis of the bones showed that the man suffered from chronic sinusitis, perhaps because of the serious problem of vision, brought degenerative changes and indicators suggest that his age was 41-49 years and had equestrian activity. Moreover, he had a trauma in his left hand, which was mentioned by Demosthenes in "On the Crown".

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