State archaeologists carefully excavating an Alexander the Great-era tomb at Amphipolis in Macedonia found two headless sphinxes set there as symbolic guards.
The works were discovered after the removal of large stones from the entrance at the site where Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, after visiting there last week, said he expects a major find.
The two sphinxes, which apart from being headless also have broken wings, are believed to have been crafted “by the same hands” as those which made a 16-foot-tall marble lion which is thought to have sat atop the burial site, archaeologists working on the dig told Kathimerini.
The sphinxes, each weighing around 1.5 tons and with traces of red coloring on their feet, will not be removed from the entrance to the tomb as archaeologists clear away stones and earth to gain access.
The sphinxes are 1.45 meters high and would have been 2 meters high with their heads, the Culture Ministry said in a statement.
Pieces of the sphinxes’ wings were found on the site, as was a large section of the back of the lion sculpture, archaeologists said.
Experts working on the excavation were also examining a section of the tomb wall which bears traces of red and blue coloring, in two shades. A mosaic displaying black and white rhombus shapes has also been discovered on the site.
A mosaic displaying black and white rhombus shapes has also been discovered on the site.
Technical work began on Aug. 18 at the tomb to avert any structural damage as archaeologists attempt to enter the tomb and discover what lies inside.
Some experts believe the site has been raided in the past but archaeologists cannot yet confirm this.
The tomb dates to between 325 and 300 BC, which coincides with the time when ancient warrior Alexander the Great died. He lost his life in 323 BC in Babylon, modern-day Iraq, but was later buried in Egypt. His final resting place is not known.