Get a Full Frontal View of Greek Statues From Amphipolis Tomb

Two pictures from the Greek Culture Ministry show the full length of the 7.45-foot-tall (2.27-meter-tall) caryatid statues guarding a massive burial complex in Amphipolis in northern Greece. The head of the left caryatid is swathed in protective foam. When the tomb was built, about 2,300 years ago, the statues extended their arms toward the center of a passageway to block would-be intruders. Greek Culture Ministry via AP

Greek culture officials have revealed a full frontal view of the 7.5-foot-tall (2.3-meter-tall) statues of Caryatid maidens that guard a mysterious tomb from the age of Alexander the Great. The officials also say there may be a previously unknown fourth chamber to the tomb.

Archaeologists uncovered the tomb just last month at Amphipolis in northern Greece, and they're only in the beginning stages of excavating the site. They don't yet know who was buried there, but they suspect it was a high-ranking official or general from Alexander's reign, or perhaps a member of the royal family.

Alexander the Great, who died in Babylon in 323 B.C., is thought to have been buried elsewhere — but on Monday, Greece's culture minister acknowledged he couldn't yet rule out the possibility that the tomb belonged to Alexander.

Image: Sandals
The toes of the statues found inside the Amphipolis tomb were "sculpted in great detail," the Greek Culture Ministry says, and the statues' platform shoes still bear traces of red and yellow decorations. Greek Culture Ministry via AP

The Caryatids were sealed between two walls that separated chambers of the tomb, and they originally extended their hands toward the center of the passageway as a symbolic warning to intruders. The hands and arms broke off. However, the Greek Culture Ministry said archaeologists found parts of the statues' arms buried in the sand between the statues.

"They are each dressed with a long chiton, a long fringed robe with rich folds," the ministry said Sunday in a statement. The statues' thick-soled shoes were painted red and yellow, and there were traces of red as well on the 4-foot-high (1.33-meter-high) pedestal that the eastern Caryatid was standing on.

"Their toes have been sculpted in great detail," the ministry said.