Archaeologists removed dozens of massive stones sealing the entrance of the huge burial complex in Amphipolis, revealing the front of the monument almost entirely. The presence of soil in the antechamber would hint at tomb raiders plundering the site.
The tomb's arched entrance was guarded by two headless, wingless, finely carved sphinxes. Weighing about 1 1/2 tons each, they would have been 6 1/2 feet high with their heads.
The sphinxes show traces of red coloring on their feet.
As the team led by Katerina Peristeri removed debris from the antechamber's interior, an inlaid composition of marble plaques appeared under the Ionic architrave, fully covering the side walls.
A pebbled floor was also unearthed in the center and front of the entrance. It consisted of rectangles and squares, surrounded by black and white diamond shapes.
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Archaeologists also unearthed the upper part of a marble blocking wall. It was topped by an architrave decorated with eight-leaved embossed rosettes.
Standing about 19 feet from the entrance, the blocking wall showed a suspicious opening on its top left. The wall might conceal one or more inner chambers.
Work continues with the installation of a temporary roof and the removal of debris and soil outside the tomb entrance.
An interdisciplinary team consisting of specialists in civil engineering, architecture and geology will provide further support as work progresses.