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At least five persons buried at Amphipolis tomb: Greek Culture Ministry

ATHENS, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- At least five persons were buried at the Amphipolis tomb which was unearthed last summer in northern Greece, the Greek Culture Ministry announced on Monday.
The results of the forensic study of part of the skeletal material showed that the 157 bones, out of a total of intact and fragmented 550 bones discovered, which have been examined so far belonged to at least five individuals, a press release said.
Some bone fragments were identified as belonging to animals, including a horse.
One of the dead buried at the massive 4th century BC tomb was an elderly woman over 60 years old, according to the results of the macroscopic study of the bone tissue.
Some of the remains belonged to two men aged 35-45 and some to an infant. The fifth person's body had been cremated and specialists cannot tell whether it was a male or female, the team of scientists from two Greek universities said.
Greek archaeologists refrained from any guesses on the identities of the buried persons at the Alexander the Great era impressive burial complex at the Casta hill, about 550 km north of Athens.
They stressed that the analysis of the skeletal material and studies on the rest of the findings which are expected to give more detailed information on the buried persons' social and economic status, life style and health problems, will continue for several months.
The mystery of the identity of the buried tomb occupants will drag on.
The findings are expected to be compared to a sample of some 300 skeletons unearthed in the broader Amphipolis area dating to between 1000 and 200 BC.
In parallel archaeologists continue to study architectural finds which include a pair of 2 meter-high sculptures of Sphinxes, two captivating Karyatids (female figures), a mosaic depicting the Abduction of Persephone (a daughter of God Zeus in ancient Greek mythology) and drawings.
The excavation works will also continue this year, as scientists have identified with a geophysical survey at least one more ancient chamber at the 200-meter diameter and 33-meter high hill.
The Culture Ministry refuted allegations that the skeleton found at the Amphipolis tomb belongs to Olympias, the mother of Alexander the Great. Historians said that she was stoned to death in 316 BC at approximately that age.
The excavation's chief archaeologist Katerina Peristeri had implied during a first press briefing on the findings in November that the tomb was maybe built for a prominent Macedonian general close to Alexander the Great.
The Greek scientists had stressed then that the Amphipolis tomb had been looted in ancient times.

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