The cluster of the Queens (cluster Β)

At a privileged and prominent location next to the northwestern gate of the ancient walls, where the necropolis is separated from the city of Aigai by the torrent of Paliopanagia, a group of female tombs was excavated belonging to distinctive members of the Temenid dynasty.

The cluster consists of four large pits (ΛI 540-30 BC, ΛII 500-490 BC, ΛIII 480 BC and ΛIV 470-60 BC) and three monumental stone-built cist graves (Κ2 430-20 BC, Κ2 420-10 BC, Κ3 350-30 BC,). Intact was only one of the pit ones, which contained the richest female burial of the era in Macedonia known to us today: the one of the golden “Lady of Aigai”, who died at the beginning of the 5th century BC and probably was the wife of Amyntas I. Next to her one of the wives of Alexander I (498-454 BC) was buried in the time of Persian wars. In her burial, at least 26 small terracotta statues (xoana) were used with clay heads depicting the two deities, Demeter and Kore, but also two Demons, which are typical of the local artistic production on the threshold of a new era, as well as of the religious beliefs accompanying and leading the distinguished Macedonian wife-mother-priestess to the Underworld.

In the same cluster, in 344/43 BC, the mother of Philip II, Eurydice, was buried in a monumental burial construction that constitutes the earliest architectural expression of the “Macedonian tomb”. The impressive throne of the queen with its splendid painting depicting the quadriga ridden by the divine couple of the Underworld, Pluto and Persephone, is a symbol of her position in the court and in the Macedonian social structure, as is an indication of the queen’s after-death status in the Elysian Fields.

The most recent tomb of the group (beginning of the 3rd century BC) is an elegant Macedonian tomb with an Ionic façade and a marble throne inside, which most probably belonged to the daughter of Philip II, queen Thessaloniki.

The cluster of the Queens (cluster Β)

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