ATHENS, Greece (TheBlaze/AP) — Archaeologists have plowed forward on the dig of an Alexander the Great-era tomb, the person for whom it was built still not yet identified. When it was first announced in August, the tomb was described as "extremely important," and since then the team has slowly revealing the treasures they've found.
Most recently, the archaeologists uncovered a floor mosaic that covers the whole area of a room seen as the antechamber to the main burial ground in the ancient tomb in northern Greece.
A partly damaged floor mosaic is shown inside an ancient Greek tomb, depicting a chariot driver, two horses and the Greek god Hermes. Archaeologists digging through an ancient grave at Amphipolis, northern Greece, uncovered the 3-by-4.5 meter (10-by-15 ft.) mosaic in what is likely the antechamber to the main burial room. (AP Photo/Greek Culture Ministry)
The mosaic, 10 feet long and 15 feet wide, depicts a horseman with a laurel wreath driving a chariot drawn by two horses and preceded by the god Hermes. According to the ministry of culture announcement made Sunday, Hermes is seen here as the conductor of souls to the afterlife.
The mosaic is made up of pebbles in many colors: white, black, gray, blue, red and yellow. A circular part, near the center of the mosaic, is missing, but authorities say enough fragments have been found to reconstruct a large part.
The ancient Greek god Hermes is depicted in a mosaic as the conductor of souls to the afterlife.. (AP Photo/Greek Culture Ministry)
Archaeologists inching through a large 2,300-year-old tomb previously found two marble female statues flanking the entrance to one of three underground chambers, in another sign of the unusual attention and expense lavished on the unknown person buried there.
A Culture Ministry statement said the statues show "exceptional artistic quality." Their upper sections were discovered in September and their bodies — clad in semi-transparent robes — emerged after part of a blocking wall was removed later.
This photo released last month by the Greek Culture Ministry shows the feet of a female figurine on a wall leading to the yet unexplored main room of the ancient tomb, in the town of Amphipolis, northern Greece. The tomb dates between 325 B.C. — two years before the death of ancient Greek warrior-king Alexander the Great — and 300 B.C. (AP Photo/Culture Ministry)
Less than half the tomb, which bears signs of having been plundered in antiquity, has been explored, and removing the tons of earth that fill it will take weeks. Although no burials have been found so far, the opulence points to some senior official linked with ancient Greek warrior-king Alexander the Great. Some other speculation is that it could be the tomb of his mother or wife.
The barrel-vaulted tomb is among the biggest of its period in antiquities-rich Greece. Excavator Katerina Peristeri believes the mound was originally topped by a stone lion on a large plinth, found a few kilometers away 100 years ago, that was probably removed during Roman times.
Archaeologists excavating a massive burial mound in northern Greece have found two marble sculptures of female figures and a large, colored marble panel in what appears to be the antechamber of the main room. (AP Photo/Culture Ministry)
Former antiquities guard Alekos Kochliaridis told the AP that robbers tried to excavate the mound in 1952, brazenly turning up in broad daylight with a mechanical digger.
"We local residents called the police and they chased them off," he said. "The whole surrounding area has plenty of holes left by illegal excavations."