An Ancient Aegean Tomb Was Found During Sewer Construction

By: Beth Moreton | Published: Apr 11, 2024

When construction workers were working on a new sewer system, the last thing they expected to find was a tomb.

The tomb, which is believed to belong to nobility, was found in the ancient city of Aegean, now known as Vergina.

Aegae Was the Capital of Macedonia

Back in the ancient period, Aegae was the capital of Macedonia.

This is an ancient part of Aegae. Three stone tunnels are on top of one another on a hill. Green trees and bushes are on either side of the tunnels.

Source: Ferit Baycuman/Wikimedia Commons

In 336 BC, Alexander the Great was proclaimed King of Macedon there.

Aegae Is Important to Ancient History

Despite Aegae no longer being the capital city, it still holds an important part in ancient history.

A mosaic of Alexander the Great. He is wearing armor and is riding a horse.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

According to History Hit, it was also the place where Philip II was murdered.

Aegae Was a Burial Place for Royalty

The ancient city of Aegae was once a place where royal family members would be buried.

A statue of Philip II on a horse. There is a white tower in the background with a cross on top.

Source: Petar Milošević/Wikimedia Commons

Several graves that belonged to royalty have been discovered. Vici said these tombs belonged to royals such as Philip II and Alexander IV.

The Tomb’s Discovery Was Announced at an Archaeological Meeting

For the last 36 years, archaeologists have met to discuss ongoing archaeological projects in Macedonia and Thrace.

A map of Macedonia, Peonia, and Thrace, where the archaeological works were taking place.

Source: Alexander G. Findlay/Wikimedia Commons

All That’s Interesting reported that Angeliki Kottaridis explained during her presentation that the tomb was found during sewer construction in the city, which was a complete surprise. 

The Tomb Belonged to a Nobleman and His Wife

The Athens Macedonian News Agency reported that the tomb is believed to have belonged to a nobleman and his wife.

A tapestry depicting Ancient Greek nobilitymen on horses with spears.

Source: Unknown/Wikimedia Commons

However, the identity of the nobleman and his wife is currently unknown.


No Damage Was Made to the Tomb

As the construction workers weren’t expecting to come across an ancient tomb when constructing a sewer network, some were worried that workers inflicted damage.

Underground in a sewage tunnel. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Source: Martin Brechtl/Unsplash

However, once construction workers discovered the tomb, work stopped, and no damage was done.


The Tomb Was Without a Door

One thing that stood out most about the tomb was that it didn’t have a door.

The tomb that was discovered during sewage construction. It is white and red with a gold ribbon and bow around the center.

Source: @isabellemgs75/X

The opening was closed with stones and it had a golden ribbon and large bows painted around the tomb’s perimeter. 


The Colored Mortars Are from Two Phases

There were colored mortars used in the tomb construction, which are believed to be from two phases.


Source: IVANVIEITO from Getty Images/Canva

This is due to the nobleman’s wife being buried with him, which likely happened later.


The Tomb Is an Important Discovery

For some, this is just the discovery of a random tomb. For others, this is an important archaeological discovery.

An ancient shield made of iron in a museum.

Source: Gary Todd/Wikimedia Commons

The nobleman was found buried with a shield reinforced with iron pieces. Anatolian Archaeology says this discovery is important because it shows that the shield was made in a good workshop and belonged to a member of the Macedonian elite cavalry. 


It Is Believed to Be a Part of a Group of Wealthy Tombs

LBV reports that Dimitris Pandermanlis excavated a tomb 100 yards from where the latest one was found in 1969. 

This is an ancient Macedonian tomb found in Greece. It has pillars and large stones blocking the entrance.

Source: Christaras A/Wikimedia Commons

There are also two other known tombs there. Because of this, they are believed to be a part of a group of wealthy tombs, with many more likely in the same area. 


Part of a Wall Was Found as Part of the Sewage Project

When planning the city’s sewage project, part of an ancient wall was found.

An example of an ancient Greek wall in a field. The wall is quite low and goes into the ground.

Source: Davide Mauro/Wikimedia Commons

This was important as it suggested where the ancient city’s boundaries once were, which could help with future archaeological projects involving the discovery of more tombs.