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Ancient Stone Women Found Guarding Greek Tomb

Sep 08, 2014 11:20 AM EDT

Two tall and beautiful women were discovered while Greek archaeologists were excavating a massive Alexander the Great-era tomb in the Greek region of Serres. The kicker? They're actually massive stone guardians meant to keep intruders from entering the inner chambers of the tomb.

The existence of this tomb was officially announced just last month, when Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras - accompanied by his wife Georgia and Culture Minister Constantinos Tassoulas - trekked to Kasta Hill, where the massive burial mound complex can be found.

The mound is at the site of Ancient Amphipolis in northern Greece, and according to Katerina Peristeri, the head of 28th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, this is very likely the tomb of an exceptionally important individual. Excavations have revealed a unique grave circle which dates back to the last quarter of the 4th century BC, and the burial complex itself is 10 times larger than the tomb of Alexander's father, Philip II of Macedon, according to Discovery News.

So just who could be buried there that's even more important than the father (who was also a Greek king) of one of the greatest conquerors of all time?

Experts really can't say just yet, but they do know that a great deal of effort was taken to not only make this tomb beautiful - complete with a sprawling mosaic of luxurious red tiling - but also well protected. (Scroll to read on...)

Following its initial discovery and two-year excavation, researchers have concluded that the massive tomb was sealed by pouring sand through gaps at the top of the diaphragmatic walls of the chambers.

The tomb's entrance is protected by a pair of impressive sphinx statues. And now further in, two stone women - or caryatids - can be found with their arms outstretched, symbolically preventing passage into the inner-most chambers. According to the Greek Ministry of Culture, they have yet to break past this final protected stone wall.

The ministry announced that these statues boast evidence of being Kore female statues and are "of exceptional artistic value."

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