New Evidence: Alexander the Great's Dad in Greek Tomb
Remains belong to Macedonian King Philip II, archaeologist says
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2014 5:45 PM CDT
Facade of the royal tomb that researchers say belongs to Philip II, father of Alexander the Great.   (Wikimedia Commons)

(Newser) – Remains found in an ancient tomb at Vergina nearly 40 years ago belong to none other than Alexander the Great's father, Greek researchers say. Their evidence: The bones and cremated remains show signs of violence that jibe with the life of Macedonian King Philip II, a warrior who lost an eye to an arrow at the siege of Methone in 354BC, Discovery reports via Mashable. Presented by head researcher Theodore Antikas, the analysis includes X-ray images, electron-microscopic scans, and some 3,000 color photographs of the remains. Antikas says the remains show signs of a sinus infection "that might have been caused by an old facial trauma" (the eye wound), along with a sharp wound to the left hand (likely a battle scar) and degenerative markers and lesions that indicate a horse-rider in his middle years.

What's more, the female remains buried alongside him apparently belong to a warrior woman whose body matches armor found in the tomb, meaning she likely used weaponry found there, too. What's the big deal? The weapons were forged by Scythians—a group of ancient Iranian tribes—and "no Macedonian king other than Philip is known to have had 'relations' with a Scythian," says Antikas. He adds that the woman may have been the daughter of Athea, the Scythian king. If Antikas' team is right, they will settle a debate that scholars have waged ever since the tomb was discovered by a Greek archaeologist in 1977-78. Meanwhile, archaeologists at a burial mound 100 miles away have found a large floor mosaic dating back to the time of Alexander the Great, depicting the god Hermes as he ushers souls to the afterlife, the AP reports. The remains of Alexander himself, however, are yet to be found. (Read about an ancient image of Jesus found in an Egyptian tomb.)