Cradle of a Legend

Graves laden with luxuries offer a revealing new look at the wealthy military culture that gave birth to Alexander the Great. Excavations in Archontiko have uncovered 450 tombs from the sixth century B.C. Archaeologists Pavlos and Anastasia Chrysostomou, of the Greek Ministry of Culture, describe scores of warriors whose armor, swords, and shoes sparkled with gold and silver as well as noblewomen adorned with gold, silver, amber, and faience. Other funerary items—a scarab from Egypt, ceramics from the eastern Mediterranean—foreshadow the empire that the fabled Macedonian general would conquer 200 years later. —A. R. Williams

Photo: A gold mask and gold-trimmed helmet, seen here on a mannequin, were found in a Macedonian warrior’s grave. Photograph by Gianluca Colla

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