National Geographic : 1978 Jul
Bones of contention-the cremated remains of Philip II of Macedon, according to ProfessorAndronicos--lay undisturbed within the larger of the two gold caskets for 23 centuries. Though somewhat charredfrom a funeralpyre, the bones were apparently carefully washed, perhaps with wine, then covered with a golden wreath of oak leaves and acorns. Among the fragments were two teeth, which an anthro pologist says belonged to a man past his early thirties. Philip died at 46. Blue and purple stains on some of the bones and on the floor of the casket were caused by the disintegration of the purplefabric that wrapped the bones. But are they Philip's bones? Lack of proof has led some scholars to challenge the professor's identification. The fact that the main chamber of the tomb was less lavish than might be expected has also sown doubts. Dr. Andronicos counters that, since Philip was assassinatedwith the possible complicity of Olympias, the burial may have taken place hastily, without time for the usualfinishing touches on the tomb's inner walls. Whatever the ultimate identification, the find at Vergina remains a triumph of modern archeology.