The question of who may be buried in an enormous and mysterious tomb in northern Greece has titillated archaeologists for months.
But now, at a well-known burial just 100 miles (161km) away from the Amphipolis site, experts have confirmed that a grave unearthed decades ago, belongs to Alexander the Great’s father.
A team of researchers have confirmed that bones found in a two-chambered royal tomb at Vergina, belong to Macedonian King Philip II.
A total of 350 bones and fragments found in two caskets in the tomb were examined, Discovery reported.
Researchers found trauma on some of the bones, which helped them decide they belonged to the ancient king of Macedon.
They also found bones belonging to a female warrior, thought to be the daughter of the Skythian King Athea.
A collection of photographs, X-rays and other evidence is expected to be released on Friday at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, to settle the debate about the tomb’s occupants once and for all.
The bones were first recovered in 1977 by Greek archaeologist Manolis Andronikos when he was excavating the mound, known as the Great Tumulus.
Debate over whether the tomb really belonged to Philip II has raged ever since.
Three tombs were found in the mound. The first, known as Tomb I, had been looted, but a wall painting of the Rape of Persephone remained, along with bones.
Tomb II was found untouched and Mr Andronikos found the cremated remains of a male skeleton in the main chamber, along with the cremated remains of a woman in the antechamber.
Gold wreaths, silver and bronze vessels, weapons, amour and gold caskets, hinted that the tomb belonged to a member of a royal family.
Experts were unsure, whether the remains in Tomb II were Philip II and one of his wives, or Philip III Arrhidaeus, who was Alexander the Great’s half-brother.
Phillip III took the throne after Alexander’s death and the female could have been his wife, Eurydice.
To come to their conclusion, the researchers, led by Theodore Antikas, scoured the bones for peculiarities that might give them clues.
They found that the man suffered from frontal and maxillary sinusitis – inflammation of the lining of the sinuses – which was probably caused by an injury to the face.
This could have been the result of an arrow that hit Phillip II in the right eye and blinded him at the siege of Methone in 354 BC.
Experts found others signs of wear and tear consistent with a warrior, such as trauma to the ribs and a wound on his left hand, which was likely caused by a weapon.
Lesions also led them to conclude that the bones are of a middle-aged man who rode a horse.
The female remains also helped to shed light on the remains of Philip II.The female was between 30 and 34 when she died, meaning that she could not be Arrhidaeus’, wife, who was under 25.
By studying the bones, anthropologists discovered that the woman was also a keen rider, was cremated soon after her death and had a slightly shorter left leg.
‘This leads to the conclusion that the pair of mismatched greaves [shin armour] – the left is shorter – the Scynthian gorytus and weaponry found in the antechamber belonged to her,’ Mr Antikas said.
The researchers believe that the remains and armour belong to an unknown daughter of the Scythian king Ateas, who was defeated by Philip in 339 BC.
‘No Macedonian King other than Philip is known to have had “relations” with a Scythian,’ Antikas said.
His team picked through over 100 never-studied bone fragments from Tomb I to find that it was where seven people were laid to rest – a man, woman, child, four babies and a foetus.
The find disproves previous theories that the looted chamber contained the remains of Phillip II and his family.