FLORINA, Greece – In the northern Greek region of Macedonia (different to the country of “Northern Macedonia”) were found golden warrior masks from antiquity and confirms in part the literary myths of the kings (Temenides, Bacchians) of Macedonia originated from the northeastern Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece. Along with a number of other findings in Macedonia, it shows the cultural affinity they had with the Doric tribes of Central and Southern Greece.
Gold masks are found in the Mycenaean tombs of the Peloponnese and were also later used in Macedonia. The Mycenaeans, a tribe of Greeks centered in the northeast Palopponese, took the idea of the golden funeral burial probably from the Egyptians, and in the a burial circle of Mycenaeans, five golden burial sites were found.
In 1980, gold burial sites were found in an ancient cemetery dating to 520-500 BC in Sindos, northern Greece, and later came the great excavation at Pella Palace with golden masks also dating from 560-540 BC. It began with a debate on whether and how the Mycenaean and Macedonian burials were related.
The excavation at a large archaeological site in Achladas, just 22 kilometers northeast of the city of Florina, where intensive lignite mining is being carried out, has brought new gold deposits and heats up the debate among archaeologists because this is the third site after Sinos the Archontiko where such findings have been found.
The findings of the Macedonian land reinforce the literary version of a cultural affinity of the kings of the Macedonian kingdom with the Doric tribes, in the burial customs, in religion and in language. More than 200 burials have been discovered during this year’s excavations, 131 of which are dated to Byzantine times and 75 to ancient.
Because of their monumental character, most burials were captured – probably from ancient times – but in one area the findings drew the attention of the tombs and testify to the wealth, aristocratic origin, heroic character and leadership of some families of the Macedonian aristocracy in the political and social life of Ancient Lygus during the second half of the 6th century BC.
The sole find of the cemetery is the gold mask found on a man-made burial ground covered with slate stones. Although the tomb was seized and disturbed, a gold ring, a silver double fork, parts of iron swords and iron spikes, amber voices, a bronze boiler and a backpacker were retained outside the funeral mask.
Four “Illyrian-type” helmets, which first came to light, differentiate these dead in terms of armor from the rest of the Achladan warriors.
The “Illyrian type” helmet refers to a bronze helmet widely used in the 8th and 7th century BC, found especially in the Peloponnese and was incorrectly named after Illyria – probably because many such helmets were found there during archaeological excavations.
The helmet was made of bronze and protected the warrior’s head and neck without obstructing eyesight. Out of the burial chamber stands the grave of a warrior, partly captured, holding, among other things, an “Illyrian-type” bronze helmet, a bronze leggings, iron spears, a two-wheeled iron chariot, and gold plates.
The practice of secondary combustion was applied to five burials. One was found in a large alluvial bronze vessel, an outstanding example of ancient metalwork. The vessel is preserved in relatively good condition, with a diameter of 0.55m and its handle ends in two adhesions in the form of human hands. It is a secondary burning man, and indeed a warrior, as the offerings suggest: two iron swords, two iron spears, and an “illyrian-type” bronze helmet framed the vase, which was covered with a horizontally placed slit.
Also, for the first time, they came to light, a spherical aryalbus (ed.: A small spherical vessel with a narrow spout) made of Fagianite, clay figurines seated in a female-shaped pigeon-holding throne and a throne-shaped sphinx with lyre. Two plastic vases with upright female form and a bust of a male mythical figure with an animal hide on the head, probably of Hercules, dating back to Archaic years, were found.
The rescue excavation is in progress and is being carried out under the supervision of archaeologist Liana Gelou, in an extensive cemetery with long-term use whose graves have already reached 1,290 BC. The earliest of these date to the Late Bronze Age, the most numerous being between the 6th and 3rd century BC, while there is widespread use of the cemetery in the Byzantine years. In the southern part of the same archaeological site, partly above prehistoric and archaic-classical tombs, two Roman farmhouse complexes with production and laboratory facilities were discovered.