Enormous tomb discovered in Greece

  • 23 September 2014
Two ancient sphinxes guard the entrance to the tomb Image copyright Greek culture ministry
Image caption Two sphinxes guard the entrance to the tomb

A massive tomb's been discovered by archaeologists in northern Greece.

It's thought to be the largest burial site ever discovered in the area and has taken experts two years to unearth.

The tomb dates back to the time of Alexander the Great of Macedonia, in the 4th century.

But it's not clear who might be buried there.

Women are ancient guardians

Inside, archaeologists found two huge marble statues, in good condition.

Image copyright Greek culture ministry
Image caption The marble carved face shown here is almost intact

Each of the marble female figures has one arm pointing out, which is thought to help prevent people coming inside the main chamber.

Image copyright Greek culture ministry
Image caption The face of marble statues measuring 2.27m high is revealed

The site where archaeologists are still digging, is protected 24 hours a day by two police officers. They want to keep tourists away from the nearby village of Mesolakkia.

Image copyright Giorgos Christides
Image caption The site is guarded around the clock to keep visitors away from the ancient tomb

The teams progress has now slowed down since workers found third chamber that is in danger of collapsing.

Image copyright Greek culture ministry
Image caption A sketch of the tomb shows the two sphinxes at the front and the marble statues of women behind

Archaeologists agree the magnificence of the tomb was built for an important person - some believe it was for Alexander the Great himself- others think it's for a close member of his family.

Image caption The tomb's been discovered in northern Greece

Local farmer Antonis Papadopoulos said: "The magnitude and opulence of this tomb is unique. Common sense says he is the one buried inside." Another says the villagers are "hoping they have won the lottery".