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Subjects in FocusMacedonian Tombs

Macedonian Tombs

Definition of the 'Macedonian Tombs'
Origins and Evolution in the form of 'Macedonian Tombs'
Decoration of 'Macedonian Tombs'
Burial customs and grave goods
Topograghy of 'Macedonian Tombs'

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'Gorytos' from the Tomb of Philip
Gold 'gorytos' (quiver-and-bow-case) with repousse representation of the capture of a city, from the Tomb of Philip second half of 4th century BC, Thessaloniki, Archaeological Museum.

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Burial customs and grave goods

'Gorytos' from the Tomb of Philip

In Macedonia, as in the rest of Europe, the manner of burial was a question of personal preference and financial means. Both inhumation and cremation, which was more expensive, were practised.

The archaic aspects of the Macedonians' society and state explain the large size of the tombs and the extraordinary splendour of the offerings, traits which distinguish them from their contemporaries in other parts of Greece.

Specially-built sarcophagi and precious funerary urns received the bodies and the ashes, respectively, of the dead. Objects used by the deceased in life were placed in the tomb: weapons and banqueting vessels for the men, and jewellery for the women. Figurines and implements of worship were the offerings of the dead person's family for the afterlife.

In the case of cremation, the remains of the offerings were placed on the tomb after burial. No traces of the ceremonies which probably ensued or were repeated at regular intervals in honour of the dead have survived, except in a few instances, such as in the royal tombs of Vergina.

Macedonian Heritage
Content courtesy Ekdotike Athenon S.A.