Mosaic Floor Revealed at Alexander the Great-Era Tomb

Amphipolis mosaic
This image, released Aug. 31, shows the mosaic floor revealed at Amphipolis. (Image credit: Greek Ministry of Culture)

At a site under excavation in Greece, archaeologists have uncovered mosaic floors that pave the entrance to a huge tomb from the era of Alexander the Great.

The freshly revealed floor covers the antechamber behind the sphinx-guarded entrance to the tomb at Amphipolis in Macedonia, a historical region of Greece, photos released by the Greek Ministry of Culture show. Small, irregular fragments of white marble are embedded against a red background in the floor, which is preserved in excellent condition, the excavators said.

No graves have been discovered yet at the so-called Kasta Hill site at Amphipolis. But that hasn't stopped tourists, journalists and politicians from flocking to the ancient village to get a glimpse of the excavation. Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras toured the site last month and told reporters he was standing in front of an "extremely important discovery." Some local media outlets have derided the media circus. The Greek Reporter charged that Amphipolis has become "archaeological Disneyland." [See Photos of the Alexander-Era Tomb Excavation

Besides the broken sphinxes, archaeologists have also revealed architectural elements that still bear traces of their original black and red paint. There are also traces of a blue fresco on the wall behind the sphinxes.

Before the excavators could continue digging farther into the tomb, they had to put in place a drainage ditch and other infrastructure to collect rainwater and protect the exposed entrance to the complex, according to another update on Tuesday (Sept. 2) from the Greek Ministry of Culture.

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Megan Gannon
Live Science Contributor
Megan has been writing for Live Science and since 2012. Her interests range from archaeology to space exploration, and she has a bachelor's degree in English and art history from New York University. Megan spent two years as a reporter on the national desk at NewsCore. She has watched dinosaur auctions, witnessed rocket launches, licked ancient pottery sherds in Cyprus and flown in zero gravity. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.