GRECIA ANTICA – ARCHEOLOGICA & RESTAURO ARCHITECTURA: L’esercito britannico stavano progettando una rapina a mano in stile Elgin a Anfipoli 1916-18, Protohemanews. com (29|11|2014) & ancient-origins.net. (22|09|2014).
Mr. Michalis Lefantzis, the architect who elaborated the draft of Kasta Tomb for the Ministry of Culture made a shocking revelation today, at the event dedicated to ancient Amphipolis.
Citing historical evidence, Mr. Lefantzis told the journalists attending the presentation that a British brigade was planning to transfer to London 1,000 pieces of the monument precinct, along with the statue of the lion.
On the day of the transfer, Austrian and Bulgarian troops attacked the British convoy and, as a result, the barges sunk in the river Strymonas and the ancient artifacts were “saved”.
Mr. Lefantzis also revealed that several local residents have been secretly returning parts of the precinct which they kept as mementos in their homes!
It is reminded that a few months ago, photo documents have emerged showing British soldiers of the 2nd King’s Shopshire Light Infantry posing with skulls excavated during the construction of trenches and dugouts in the area of Amphipolis. Artifacts at the British Museum are believed to have been stolen by soldiers like them, fighting Bulgarians in the region from 1916-1918.
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— Protohemanews. com (11|29|2014).
— Ancient Greece: Did British soldiers plunder Amphipolis Tomb in 1916? ancient-origins.net. (22|09|2014).
Photographs have emerged depicting soldiers from a regiment of the British Army, crawling into the world-renowned Amphipolis Tomb in Greece, raising questions about whether they may have plundered the tomb?
A photograph has emerged depicting soldiers from a regiment of the British Army, proudly holding skulls found around the Amphipolis Tomb in Greece, raising questions about whether they may have plundered the tomb nearly a century ago. The King’s Shropshire Light Infantry (KSLI), a regiment of the British Army formed in 1881, was posted to Thessalonika in Greece in 1915 at the request of the Greek Prime Minister and spent nearly three years fighting the Bulgarians in Macedonia. For the most part, they were based on the Struma front between Lake Doiran and Amphipolis, where they constructed trenches and dugouts and fought numerous skirmishes. However, it seems the battalion did more than just fighting, as photographs have emerged showing evidence of the soldiers entering the famous tomb at Amphipolis, as well as proudly showing off human remains found at the site. It is already known that the spectacular Lion of Amphipolis, a 5.3 metre-high marble statue that once stood on top of the giant tomb of Amphipolis, was found by British soldiers who were building fortifications at the bridge of Amphipolis in 1916. The British tried to smuggle the marble parts to England, but their efforts were thwarted when Bulgarians who had just seized Paggaion attacked them. Archaeologist Fotis Petsas, whose work on the history of the Lion of Amphipolis was published in 1976 in “Proodos” newspaper that circulated in Serres, wrote: “During the Balkan War in 1913, Greek soldiers found the foundations of the pedestal of the monument while digging trenches. The foundations were examined by George Ikonomos and Anastasios Orlandos who subsequently became professors of archaeology. Later, in 1916, during World War I, British soldiers discovered the first parts of the marble lion. Their attempt to transport the pieces onboard a ship were thwarted by an enemy bombing.”
When archaeologists entered the second chamber of the Amphipolis tomb last month, they found that the marble wall sealing off the third chamber had already been smashed open in one corner, leading researchers to believe that the tomb may have been looted in antiquity. However, the plundering may not have occurred in the ancient past, but by the British soldiers in WWI.
A little digging around on the website of the British Museum has revealed a little more to the story. The biography page for Dr Eric Gardner (1877 – 1951), a British medic and amateur archaeologist, who was posted to Greece during WWI, reveals that he took treasures found at Amphipolis and ‘donated’ them to the British Museum. The British Museum writes: “He was based around Amphipolis on the Struma front, where an Archaic-Hellenistic Greek cemetery was uncovered. Donated contents of an Amphipolis grave to the Museum in 1918.” So was this ‘Amphipolis grave’ the great tomb that is currently being excavated by archaeologists?
Within the grave, Dr Gardner found a hoard of treasures including gold, silver, and bronze jewellery, finely crafted pottery, a metal hair pin, an iron knife, and a spearhead. It is not known how much he kept for himself, but nine of these items now sit inside the British Museum in London. It is curious to say the least, that in the midst of the media frenzy regarding the current excavation of the enormous tomb at Amphipolis, the British Museum has remained deafly silent on the issue. Perhaps they are afraid of another ‘Elgin Marbles’ scenario in which the world petitions them to return stolen goods to their origin.
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