Scientists to scan remains of King Philip II

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Scientists to scan remains of King Philip II

Post by Nikas »

Apparently there is a "substance" on the bones that has been found in other graves that they will be investigating.

http://phantis.co.uk/news/scientists-sc ... ii-macedon
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Re: Scientists to scan remains of King Philip II

Post by Alexias »

They can't expect to find human remains on burnt bones after all this time, can they? Maybe the bones were annointed with myrrh or something similar and wrapped in fine linen or wool, or silk if they had it, and this has produced the residue.
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Re: Scientists to scan remains of King Philip II

Post by Susa the Great »

Hi Alexias,
But they dont aim at human remains, just want to find out which substance is that, and if it is helping at the deterioration of the larnax somehow...

The "human remains" thing lies only on the analysis of the remaining bone pieces (I think skull remains?).

By the way, any idea if they have already come to a conclusion about the owner of that royal funerary scenario? Last time I heard about it, scientists were fighting with clubs about that. :|
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Re: Scientists to scan remains of King Philip II

Post by Alexias »

Sorry, I don't really understand your question. If you are asking if the large, unlooted tomb at Vergina is Alexander's father Philip's, then I think most people accept that it is, although it cannot be proven definitively. The only other candidate apprears to be Alexander's half-brother Philip Arrhidaeus.
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Re: Scientists to scan remains of King Philip II

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Susa the Great wrote:
By the way, any idea if they have already come to a conclusion about the owner of that royal funerary scenario? Last time I heard about it, scientists were fighting with clubs about that. :|
I used to get very confused about the lines of argument from both sides and your post prompted me to look again. This is a picture of the most famous facial reconstruction of the skeleton:

http://www.archeolog-home.com/pages/con ... ather.html

The reconstruction was done by Richard Neave, a well respected expert in forensic anthropology. Nowadays, forensic facial reconstruction is an advanced science and way beyond the stage where such a severe facial assymmetry can be "read into a skeleton" when it really isn't there. As there is no other male member of the Royal House of Macedon known to have had facial assymmetry, Neave's reconstruction settles the argument for good. It MUST be Phillip II.

For those who are still inclined to think that it may be Arrhideus, here's a picture of the actual facial bone (Fig 4) on which Neave's reconstruction is based.

http://www.medsci.org/v07p00s1.htm

You don't need to be an expert to see what's happened: the Right side has to be propped up with a 10mm block to make the palate horizontal.

For a face, that's a gross deformity and it no longer matters how close Neave's reconstruction is to the reality. What is unequivocally clear is that the original owner of that facial bone looked like a freak.


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Re: Scientists to scan remains of King Philip II

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chris_taylor wrote:
I used to get very confused about the lines of argument from both sides and your post prompted me to look again. This is a picture of the most famous facial reconstruction of the skeleton:

http://www.archeolog-home.com/pages/con ... ather.html

The reconstruction was done by Richard Neave, a well respected expert in forensic anthropology. Nowadays, forensic facial reconstruction is an advanced science and way beyond the stage where such a severe facial assymmetry can be "read into a skeleton" when it really isn't there. As there is no other male member of the Royal House of Macedon known to have had facial assymmetry, Neave's reconstruction settles the argument for good. It MUST be Phillip II.

For those who are still inclined to think that it may be Arrhideus, here's a picture of the actual facial bone (Fig 4) on which Neave's reconstruction is based.

http://www.medsci.org/v07p00s1.htm

You don't need to be an expert to see what's happened: the Right side has to be propped up with a 10mm block to make the palate horizontal.

For a face, that's a gross deformity and it no longer matters how close Neave's reconstruction is to the reality. What is unequivocally clear is that the original owner of that facial bone looked like a freak.


Chris.
Agreed. Most of the debate has centred around only two real potential candidates for this tomb, namely Phillip II and III. The proponents of the Arrhidaeus POV argue that the hunting scene mural and some of the artifacts from the tomb are more explainable in the generation after Phillip II, in light of "eastern" motifs and other chronological indicators such as the weight inscriptions on the silver plate that is argued to have been introduced in Alexanders reign. However, the Musgrave paper you cite seems to paint a compelling case (at least to my limited knowledge of forensics) that the bones cannot be Arrhidaeus, which then lacking the only other suitable candidate leads us directly back to Phillip II.

One thing that always seemed to be a particularly tricky question is how to reconcile either of these two occupants, if the tomb, as we are told, was desecrated and looted by Gaulish soldiers in Pyrrhus's army? Either this event never happened, or somehow they respectfully left this tomb alone? This then got me to thinking if any of the studies or research had looked into whether there is any evidence that the tomb was re-sealed at a later date than its first interment? Follow this line of speculation for a moment, the tomb does in fact house the remains of Phillip II originally, but it is eventually plundered by the Gauls who scatter the bones and whatever else they don't find worthy enough to take. Being expelled finally by Antigonus Gonatas, do the Macedonians not then gather the bones of their greatest king and add to whatever original goods are either left or saved whatever else they may be able to muster up in those unsettled times? I recognize there is absolutely no evidence for this line of speculation, yet we still have to reconcile the discrepancy of not just Phyrrus's Gauls, but so too the previous Gaulish invasion under Brennos which caused such devastation in Macedonia?
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Re: Scientists to scan remains of King Philip II

Post by Xenophon »

Chris Taylor wrote:
As there is no other male member of the Royal House of Macedon known to have had facial assymmetry, Neave's reconstruction settles the argument for good. It MUST be Phillip II.
As soon as I read Musgrave et al's paper some time ago, I felt he made a persuasive case. In case anyone thinks that the cremation produced this assymetry ( it did cause one side of the skull to 'peel' back ) the paper specifically explains why this facial assymetry could not have been due to cremation.......

Pothosians should read this paper and form their own views, compared to the Philip III Arrhidaeos adherents arguments....I prefer the hard scientific arguments to the 'style' arguments of the Philip III school.
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Re: Scientists to scan remains of King Philip II

Post by agesilaos »

I read this a while back and what stood out for me was that he did not understand the true conclusion of his work which was not that the body could not be Arrhidaios as he states, but only that you cannot tell from the bones whether they are from a wet or dry cremation and that the bones of Philip III would have lost their flesh in any case. So the case is still open.
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Re: Scientists to scan remains of King Philip II

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agesilaos wrote:I read this a while back and what stood out for me was that he did not understand the true conclusion of his work which was not that the body could not be Arrhidaios as he states, but only that you cannot tell from the bones whether they are from a wet or dry cremation and that the bones of Philip III would have lost their flesh in any case. So the case is still open.
I've lost you here:

I argued that Neave's reconstruction settles the matter - the face of the deceased was grossly disfigured. Although there's a chance that it is not Phillip (someone substituted the skeleton), the disfigurement excludes Arrhidaios. There's no evidence he had a facial injury / abnormality.

So why does the argument over wet vs dry cremation make a difference to Neave's facial reconstruction?

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Re: Scientists to scan remains of King Philip II

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The facial disfigurement cannot rule out either man, yes Philip had suffered an arrow wound to the eye but nowhere is it stated he had difficulty eating or speaking, which seems the necessary corollary of such an extreme deformity; in fact he is a loquacious public speaker. It is a sad fact that 'speaking funny' is often equated with mental deficiency, which would equate more with Arrhidaios it is also possible that such a misshapen palate would affect the brain, though not being a medico I would not care to postulate too far. Thus I was unconvinced.
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Re: Scientists to scan remains of King Philip II

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agesilaos wrote:I read this a while back and what stood out for me was that he did not understand the true conclusion of his work which was not that the body could not be Arrhidaios as he states, but only that you cannot tell from the bones whether they are from a wet or dry cremation and that the bones of Philip III would have lost their flesh in any case. So the case is still open.
I don't think this is entirely correct. I agree he has not proved that the bones could not be those of Philip Arrhidaeus on cremation grounds.

He successfully demolishes Bartsiokas' theory of the bones being burned de-fleshed or dry, but then goes on to demonstrate that Philip Arrhidaeus, when disinterred by Cassander many months later, would still have been fleshed, because a body does not decompose to just a skeleton in so short a time. So whether Philip Arrhidaeus was cremated at the time of his death, or cremated some 4-17 months later by Cassander following disinterrment, he was cremated 'fleshed', which is what the actual body demonstrates. Therefore, on the cremation evidence, the corpse could be that of either Philip.

The fact that the woman in the tomb was also cremated 'fleshed' ( on the evidence of the remains) also disproves Bartsiokas' theory of 'dry' or just skeletal cremation. In addition, according to co-author Robin Lane Fox, Adaea/Eurydike was less than 20 years old at the date of her death and the woman concerned could not have been that young on the skeletal evidence. ( Cleopatra/Euridike, Philip II's wife was perhaps in her early twenties and had borne two children, Europa and Carinus [errata: If the woman was Cleopatra,she had only borne one child, Europa] to Philip - most sources say the female bones are of a woman in her mid twenties ). More significant is the absence of a third person in the tomb ( Adaea/Euridyke's mother Kynna, whom we are told in the sources was buried with them - Diodorus XIX.52.5; Diyllos 29 ) and the case looks weaker for Philip Arrhidaeus being the Tomb's occupant.....

The remaining evidence for Arrhidaeus depends on when one thinks the barrel vault was known/introduced to Greece/Macedon ( they were known in Egypt and Anatolia for thousands of years) - one theory has the idea brought back after Alexander's conquests, but possibly, or possibly not, Plato describes similar in 'Laws' 947 d, and finally the dating of some salt cellars, which match some found in Athens dating to c.300 BC....which doesn't mean this type of salt cellar didn't exist earlier, for obvious reasons.

In short, nothing conclusive either way........yet !
Last edited by Xenophon on Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Scientists to scan remains of King Philip II

Post by Xenophon »

postscript:

The "barrel vault introduced after Alexander" point doesn't seem to hold up. The Rhomais Tomb, a.k.a 'Eurydike' tomb, and firmly dated by inscribed pottery to 343-340 BC is of barrel vault construction ( and larger than the Philip Tomb).

Similar salt cellars have now been found in Northern Greece - dated to the mid fourth century.

For a summary of the latest evidence - all weakening the case for Arrhidaeus, see here:-

http://macedonia-evidence.org/pdf/philp ... poulos.pdf

....a 2007 paper by M. Hatzopoulos, a prominent Greek archaeologist.
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Re: Scientists to scan remains of King Philip II

Post by Paralus »

New evidence eh? Thanks Xenophon. I've just printed it off: bedtime reading. Whilst I've always been a bit skeptical of the Philip II identification, unlike another hereabouts, I'm always open to new / contrary evidence.
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Re: Scientists to scan remains of King Philip II

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agesilaos wrote:The facial disfigurement cannot rule out either man, yes Philip had suffered an arrow wound to the eye but nowhere is it stated he had difficulty eating or speaking, which seems the necessary corollary of such an extreme deformity; in fact he is a loquacious public speaker.
Good point, and one I hadn't considered. Did they ever show the facial bones to a facio-maxillary surgeon or a speech therapist for an opinion? I couldn't find any comments.
agesilaos wrote: It is a sad fact that 'speaking funny' is often equated with mental deficiency, which would equate more with Arrhidaios it is also possible that such a misshapen palate would affect the brain, though not being a medico I would not care to postulate too far. Thus I was unconvinced.
If the base of the skull becomes eroded, yes. As it wasn't mentioned, I assumed it wasn't considered an issue.

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Re: Scientists to scan remains of King Philip II

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I think that you consider Hatzopoulis to have weakened the case for Philip III, substantiates the bulk of his analysis; the topic really is too subjective. That he goes on to attempt a conclusion is inevitable, in that no one wants to admit non liquet. Here his reasoning can be questioned;

i) Greeks held dead bodies to be religiously 'unclean' so the putrefying corpses of Arrhidaios and Eurydike would not have been transported to Aegai. Did Kassander not have access to other peoples than Greeks? He may not have had a cortege of necrophiliac Egyptians but one finds Thracians fulfilling roles such as executioners and torturers, I cannot imagine them being so squeamish, or if slaves them even having any option.
ii) Neave's paper demonstrates that it is not possible to differentiate between a body burned fresh or one that has been exhumed after only six months, but why the closed oven? Normal practice would have been an open cremation; this fact points to the cremation of Philip III's miasmic remains rather than the fresh body of a stabbed Philip II, IMO.
iii) So it boils down to the fresco and the female's chamber having a better plaster job; the latter may be explained by the tomb having been interrupted at an earlier stage of building when the work was properly finished and the outer chamber dashed off later with the size rather than the finish dictating the occupant. I have read that the frieze was still wet when the tomb was buried which would not suit the events suggested, why a slip-shod rush job on the plastering of Macedonia's greatest king if the frieze was only completed months later when Alexander allegedly buries Kleopatra, murdered by his mother and the catalyst of the final split with his Father along with Europe the child Amyntas had used to allege his bastardy?

Personally, I think that Tomb I held Philip II with the heroon outside, that Perdikkas ordered the construction of the adjoining tomb for Alexander but upon Ptolemy's diversion of the hearse work stopped and the tomb lay empty with maybe a half finished frieze depicting the intended occupants, Alexander and Philip, with Philip more prominent as Antipatros was certainly more of a philippiphile. Later, Kassandros hurriedly finishes the tomb for Eurydike and Philip III, with Kynnane only a symbolic adjunct, it is difficult to see how her corpse would have been recovered and in any case she probably had been cremated in Asia when Perdikkas realised the faux pas of her murder. The tombs are now covered with earth then the Prince's tomb added before Pyrrhus' Gauls desecrate the burials stealing much gold and disturbing the remains which are reinterred by Lysimachos who constructs the Great Tumulus.

But it is only an opinion on how things might have gone, not all of the goods in Tomb II may have been there originally further muddying the water. :shock:
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