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CORSOS PAPER The sculptures of Tumulus Kasta near

Amphipolis published in

By Dimitrios S. Dendrinos Ph.D., MArchUD., Dipl.ArchEng.

Emeritus Professor, School of Architecture and Urban Design, University of
Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, USA.
In residence at Ormond Beach, Florida, USA
Contact at:

July 20, 2016; update #1: 7/22/16; update #2: 7/28/16

Kasta Tumulus tombs Western Kore wearing a modius

On July 19, 2016 the author became aware that a paper by Mr. Antonio Corso, whose title in [1]
is listed as Grantee of the Lord Marks Charitable Trust Benaki Museum. Benaki is a
noteworthy quasi-public, quasi-private Museum in Athens, Greece. According to its own website,
the Benaki Museum operates as a Foundation under Private Law [2].
Mr. Corso has been associated, apparently as a consultant, with the archeological team in charge
of the excavation at Kasta Tumulus tomb, although his official association has not been formally
and clearly stated publicly, to this authors knowledge. In his apparent capacity as a consultant,
Mr. Corso had evidently access to drawings drafted by the architect of the excavation team, Mr.
Michaelis Lefantzis, access that the general public didnt and still doesnt have. In his paper, Mr.
Corso acknowledges Mr. Lefantzis drawings in a number of occasions regarding these drawings,
see for example p. 195, 196, 197, 216, 217 in [1]. Of course, the jurisdiction of these drawings
raise some issues. One wonders whether they belong to the public, i.e. to the Greek Ministry of
Culture and Sports, or to the architect of the team, since they were drawn during his employment
with the Ministry. This is a fuzzy issue that involves legal jurisdiction of an archeologists work.
Although, it is a significant issue on many grounds, this angle and its broad implications for
Archeology will not be further elaborated here.
Excavations at Kasta Tumulus apparently commenced sometime in 2012, by archeologist Mrs.
Katerina Peristeri. They were made public in August 2014, and ended in November 2014. Since
then, although the archeological findings have been to a limited extent presented to the public
(professionals and non-professionals) through announcements in some both professional and
press conferences, there hasnt been any related official publication in any archeological journal
by any member of the archeological team to this date. This paper by Mr. Corso thus represents
the first, more or less quasi-official, publication on matters of Kasta Tumulus. In that sense, it
is very welcomed.
To this date, hard data (exact measurements for example) and much evidence from the
archeological dig (sherds and coins for example) as gathered by the excavation team during the
excavation at Kasta have not been made public. Neither has been any stratigraphic analysis of
the excavation process, specifying the exact location of artifacts found either inside or outside
the tomb. Thus, some of the drawings Mr. Corso refers to in his paper (especially those by
architect Mr. Lefantzis) are personal communications (as such also acknowledged by Mr. Corso).
A number of them for the first time are made public. Some of them present some new evidence
about the architecture of the Kasta Tumulus tomb, and again from that standpoint they are
In the concluding remarks section of this review, the reviewer offers a recap of the monuments
historiography as is now shaped following certain minor Architecture related new findings as
reported in Mr. Corsos paper.

Some preliminary comments

Kastas Tumulus and its tomb do in fact contain numerous sculptures of extraordinary quality,
and fully deserving extensive and meticulous study and analysis, and this effort by Mr. Corso is
welcomed as a start. Whether Mr. Corsos work accurately and fully discusses them, and whether
it represents the last word on them, is something that future studies by many analysts,
archeologists and non-archeologists alike, will render judgement. Not being an expert in Greek
Classical or Hellenistic Art, this author will refrain from taking positions on strict matters of Art.
However, being an architect and in that capacity alone, the author will supply a critique of the
paper by Mr. Corso, to the extent that matters of Architecture are involved. The author has
written extensively on Kasta Tumulus, and many points made in the past, for example in [3], will
not be repeated here. The interested reader is advised to consult that reference for more detail.
Architecture matters (along with matters of Astronomy and Mathematics) are considerable and
significant, complex and of a great variety at Kasta. Regretfully, the way they are treated by Mr.
Corso is not always balanced. Some are treated extensively, as for example the topic of the
Amphipolis Lion, which takes slightly less than about 40% of the papers length. Whereas some
others are addressed in a rather cursory manner, like for example the statement .the entrance
to the tumulus was closed with a pseudo-isodomic wall perhaps at the end of the Macedonian
kingdom in the second quarter of the II c BC or sometime during the late Hellenistic period (p.
220, line 6, before the end of the main text and prior to the Acknowledgements). This
undoubtedly constitutes a major statement on the Architecture of Kasta Tumulus.
The above statement by Mr. Corso is grossly inaccurate at least in its reference regarding the
isodomic (and the pseudo-isodomic characterization) term. As to its historical accuracy, a few
comments on that claim will be supplied later in the text of this critique. The term isodomic is
quite specific in Architecture, as it implies repetition of layers of equal dimensions in height
and length. We encounter repetition in the case of the marble clad inside the tomb (as indicated
by Mr. Lefantzis drawings). We also encounter an attempt to imitate the interior marble clad by
the Entrance exterior (outside the Sphinxes wall) limestone sidewalls which are covered by a
layer of gypsum containing a decorative pattern of dimensions similar to (but not exactly) those
found inside the tomb. However, the marble coverage of the exterior wall, the wall referenced
in the above citation by Mr. Corso regarding the perimeter of the Tumulus, is not isodomic, thus
the term pseudo-isodomic is meaningless in this context. It doesnt contain any repetition
among the five layers of marble blocks that it contains [3]. It would only make sense to use the
term pseudo-isodomic if sets of uneven in height layers of blocks were to be repeated. But
this isnt the case here.
Mr. Corso is not an architect, thus a priori he cant be held accountable when referring to and
evaluating matters of Architecture. But he elaborates on matters of Architecture in his paper, as
he bases some of his Art-related arguments on an alleged Architecture of the monument and its
sculptures. He obviously bases these Architecture related arguments on determinations by the
architect of the archeological team, Mr. Lefantzis. The problem is that these assertions by Mr.

Lefantzis have not been published. Thus Mr. Corsos Architecture related arguments cant be
admissible as stated, unless Mr. Corso provides arguments to back them up. In that framework,
comments on Architecture asserted by Mr. Corso must be analyzed as if made by him. Thus hes
accountable for them, since the burden of proof rests on him and not Mr. Lefantzis in so far as
the Architecture-related arguments of this paper are concerned. This is a point made as well in
[3] about another paper, by Professor Mavrojannis in that case regarding similar matters, also
discussed in [3].
One is however deprived from obtaining a fuller exposition, explanation and documentation of
such a major Architecture related statement, as there isnt any follow up to it. Parenthetically,
this statement represents a serious reversal of the archeological teams position. It stands in
sharp contrast to what it was said by the chief archeologist in August 2014 and has been
maintained ever since over the past two years. Just above that line (and at line 5 in the above
cited page of the paper), another statement of interest is made: Perhaps (the monuments
architect) can be identified as Dinokrates. This represents another major reversal of position by
the archeological team (if this is in fact the archeological teams position and not just Mr. Corsos).
Again, regrettably, no follow up to this new view as to the monuments architect is to be found
in the paper.
This author doesnt wish to make this review a report on his positions on Kasta, since this isnt
the objective here. On that subject alone, this author has written numerous papers, all found in
[4], as well as in a more recent paper [5]. Parenthetically, none of these (listed in [3], [4], [5])
papers are referenced in Mr. Corsos paper [1], but this will not by all means be something this
author will hold Mr. Corso accountable, since whatever Mr. Corso analyzes in [1], only a subset
of them are topics also addressed in [3 5]. In those subjects, found at the intersection of the
two sets of topics analyzed by Mr. Corso and this author, his analysis stands in considerable
distance and in sharp contrast from the positions expressed in [3 - 5].

The subject to be reviewed

In the intersection of the two sets just mentioned one subject figures prominently, that of the
Amphipolis Lion. A central architectural topic addressed extensively in Mr. Corsos paper is the
location of this sculpture. Although obviously the Lion and its base are subjects containing
matters of artistic and aesthetic qualities, the subject of its location in the environs of Kasta
Tumulus is predominantly a matter of Architecture and Urban Design. Consequently, here, the
focus will be confined simply to this single subject that Mr. Corso discusses at length, a subject
this author has analyzed in the past somewhat extensively, as evidenced by the citations [4] and
[5]. As things stand, this is a huge subject in reference to Kasta Tumulus, the tomb it contains,
and what it implies to those who advocate the Lion at the mounds summit position.

A general critique on method

Mr. Corso ventures into other matters of Architecture regarding this monument as well. But
these excursions (as evidenced by the brief reference above on the Tumulus exterior wall, or
about the monuments architect), fall short from rising to the level of a documented thesis,
requiring (let alone affording) a critique, as they are not presented at any depth. They are simply
served to the reader with a modicum of evidence, solely stated in the form of an abstract, fairly
preliminary sounding idea.
Academic work employs methods associated with statements in the form of falsifiable
hypotheses, where (at best) statistical evidence can be supplied for the testing of scientific
hypotheses. Unfortunately the papers main text is overwhelmed with suppositions on matters
of Architecture, where they are presented as facts. This is mainly demonstrated by the way the
subject of the Amphipolis Lions location is presented, which will preoccupy this review shortly.
The details of this subject do involve some statistics, as this review shows. If one is to summarize
the papers methodological weakness, this would be the most evident and impressive of all.
Lack of falsifiable hypotheses culminates in the papers Epilogue, which is referred to by Mr.
Corso as general interpretations of the tumulus (p. 220). These interpretations must be
viewed as not much more than personal reflections on matters of Kastas Architecture and
beyond. They do not follow from the main body of the paper in any systemic way, thus they will
not be reviewed here at any length.

The review: exclusive focus on the Amphipolis Lions location.

Summary. Mr. Corso fails to convincingly demonstrate three basic hypotheses he advances. First,
that the Amphipolis Lion is indeed part of the Kasta Tumulus sculptures; second, that the
Amphipolis Lion was ever assembled and then dis-assembled, prior to its (documented) assembly
in the 1930s; and third, that the Lion was indeed situated (as installed by the monuments initial
architect, designer, planner) on the Tumulus summit. In fact, he takes these three hypotheses
are given facts.
Specific points. The paper claims that it addresses the subject of the tombs sculptures. In fact,
the first item addressed in the paper, and before all other outstanding sculptures of the tomb
inside the Tumulus, is the Amphipolis Lion, a sculpture in any case to be found outside the tomb,
no matter its location. Such a prominent display clearly indicates its importance not so much for
Kasta, but for Mr. Corsos paper itself. The lion as a subject takes the first eleven pages of the
whole paper (i.e. about 36.7% of its length) and it sporadically appears throughout the rest of the
paper. Of course in that 11-page space, other topics are also touched upon, and a number of
Figures are included. However, the overwhelming bulk of the space is about the Amphipolis Lion
and its as-a-matter-of-fact taken to be position on the Tumulus summit.

Whether the Amphipolis Lion does indeed belong to the top of the Tumulus (as it has been also
claimed in chorus by the archeological team since day one of the excavation, at least since August
2014) does not seem to be of any obvious concern to Mr. Corso. It is treated as if this is without
a shred of a doubt a part of the tombs sculptures. He does not even get into the labor of
insinuating that some doubts have been expressed about this claim, and not only by this author,
let alone try to answer those doubts.
As one encounters the Amphipolis Lion to play such a prominent role in Mr. Corsos exposition,
one would expect that he would had spent considerable effort in documenting the exact
(preferably many) sources for such an extraordinary contention. Especially since the Amphipolis
Lion in its entirety (inclusive of all its various parts with one possible exception to be discussed
in a bit) was not found on top of the Kasta Hill (or Tumulus), but in pieces scattered for miles
along the banks of the River Strymonas. Unfortunately, the only source cited by Mr. Corso as
placing the assembled Lion on top of the Tumulus is the architect of the excavation team, Mr.
Lefantzis. Moreover, a very elaborate scenario is then appended, regarding the Lions
assembly, an alleged disassembly, packaged with an associated convoluted and largely
undocumented, Tumulus historiography.
Lets take a brief look at the sculptural ensemble in question, the Amphipolis Lion, what is known
about it, and what is assumed about it. First, what is (partially) known about it; that is the actual
Lion as reconstructed in the 1930s, see Figure 1. What is then assumed about it (by the members
of the archeological team, including Mr. Corso) is this: it must have contained an impressive
marble base. Although the paper makes no explicit mention of the bases dimensions, it is
deduced from various announcements by the archeological team members, which Mr. Corso
seemingly espouses {p. 195, line 6, of section (b)} that the base was to stand on top of some
limestone foundations at the hills top.
These statements constitute indeed huge subjects, see [3] for details, which Mr. Corso doesnt
seem to fully capture and appreciate their significance, as deduced by the fact that not much
more is said about all of them in the 30-page long paper and more specifically in those 11-page
long diatribe about the Lion found in the paper.
Here we have three in sequence Architecture-related issues: the Lions base and its dimensions,
the form of the base in both Architecture and Art, and the foundations of this base. Of all three,
Mr. Corso only covers its alleged Art in some depth. A fortiori, the subject of the Lions base Art
is conditionally pegged to the suppositions about its dimensions and location, without any
attempt to provide proof for these two critical suppositions. It does provide some analysis of the
bases Architecture and we shall review this analysis momentarily.
In addition of course, the unknown is whether the Lion was ever assembled and put on top of
the hill, if thats what the architect of the monument intended. If the topics about the specifics
of the foundations, base and intended location of the lion arent huge enough, in this case we
must also deal with the question (and uncertainty) whether the Lion was actually ever assembled

in antiquity, and then dis-assembled (in antiquity). If a reader had expected however Mr. Corso
to cover at least partially and at least some of these questions, by offering either evidence or
strong insight, the reader will certainly feel disappointed. Because Mr. Corso fails to offer either
to any appreciable degree.

The Corso paper (thin) evidence

Heres all the hard core evidence (stripped from all suppositions or scenarios, and/or claims
by association) supplied by Mr. Corso that the Lion was installed and assembled on top of the
Tumulus, and then subsequently dis-assembled and brought down from the hill: on the second
page of his article, p. 194 (line 3) it says: a fragment of the lion, corresponding to its left
shoulder was discovered on the tumulus. THIS IS THE ONLY HARD EVIDENCE supplied in the
paper regarding this extraordinary claim.
The exact location at the Tumulus, where this piece of the lions left shoulder was excavated
and found, is not supplied. Neither is the exact size of the fragment offered to the reader, except
in section (b) of the paper, p. 195 4th line of the section, the piece is mentioned as being simply
large. On page 194, line 2 from top, Mr. Corso characterizes this (clearly so tenuous piece of
evidence) no less than a guarantee that the Amphipolis Lion was installed and assembled on
top of the hill.
As for the base of the Lion, Mr. Corso mentions in passing (p. 194 top) that on top of the hill
theres a base and thats all. Now what exactly is meant by that, and how is this base related
to the Lions magnificent marble base remains totally unexplored. One must assume that Mr.
Corso means foundations of the Lions sculptured base. Of course, this is a major topic in the
discussion regarding the suitability of the hills summit to accommodate such a huge marble
structure. Much has been written about this base (limestone construction), utterly unable to
support either significant vertical weights or considerable lateral forces and stress upon the hills
soil, expected to be exerted over the centuries by a marble monument of this magnitude, coupled
with unavoidable soil erosion and natural events (earthquakes and the like). Mr. Corso is mute
on all of that set of issues. See [3] for a fuller exposition on the structural stability concerns of the
mounds top.
It is indeed astonishing that such a huge claim, i.e., having a more than 15-meter in height lion
sculpture with its magnificent base (we shall discuss this claim also a bit later) on top of a 21
(or 24 or at most 26, this is also unclear) meters in height partially man-made tumulus, would
solely rely on such weak evidence. But it is. Here we are dealing with a claim containing a very
small, partially documented, hard core evidence, a claim nonetheless which is accompanied
with a huge story telling type scenario, as to what could possibly might have happened after
its assembly and installation on top of the hill. The standard adage, that extraordinary claims
require extraordinary evidence to support their credence certainly is absent here.

Figure 1. The Amphipolis Lion at its location as re-assembled and its base re-constructed in the
1930s. The Lion is not referred by any Greek or Roman source. Mr. Corso contends that it was
made to honor Hephaestion and placed on top of Kasta Tumulus, that is was assembled and
dis-assembled in antiquity. The author of this review contends that the Lion was the marker
() of a system of monuments and was never assembled in antiquity.

But before we discuss the story telling scenario, one must mention some other sources who
have worked on the Amphipolis Lion. Presumably they must have considered the likely location
of the Lion, before putting it where they did in the 1930s.
Mr. Corso cites those who at various stages during the 20th century, from the 1910s, to the 1930s,
to the 1960s, had worked on both the periphery of Kasta (without knowing anything about the
buried tomb there, or Kastas also buried perimeter wall) and on recreating the base of the Lion,
assembling it from its various scattered pieces of marble blocks along the Strymonas river, and
placing it where it is found today. What Mr. Corso doesnt mention in his paper [1] is that no one
had ever suggested for sure (beyond simply maybe assuming) or found hard core evidence to
prove two things regarding this Amphipolis Lion, up till August 2014: first, that it was ever
assembled in the distant past (the 4th century BC), and disassembled shortly thereafter (a few
centuries later); and second, that it was to be put on top of a Hill.

Figure 2. The Chaeronea Lion at its actual location when constructed in the early 330s BC. The
Lion was made to commemorate a battle, not to honor any specific person. The sculpture was
well known to writers both Greek and Roman. It was re-assembled in situ during the year 1902
from its fragments found at the spot. If the Romans wanted a Lion, here was one.

The individuals involved back in the 1930s on the Amphipolis Lion recognized of course the
equivalences between the Chaeronea Lion and the Amphipolis lion, and they supplied an
equivalent base from the blocks available along Strymonas. Note, the Chaeronea Lion is not
sitting on top of a hill, but on flat solid ground. See Figure 1 (the Amphipolis lion) and Figure 2
(the Chaeronea Lion).

The story telling.

Lets now turn to the story telling part of the paper. Mr. Corso ([1] in p. 200) suggests that Roman
general Sulla, possibly leveled Amphipolis in retaliation for the citizens of Amphipolis having sided
with Mithridates VI of Pontus in the dispute between Rome and Pontus during the Mithridatic
Wars of the first century BC, a likely event recorded in history, as Mr. Corso notes. But he goes
then on to add this claim: following that destruction, the Romans may (emphasis mine) have
removed the colossal Lion from the top of the hill in order to bring it to Rome, (p. 200, line 3
from bottom) and that after an un-successful attempt at looting and loading on barges and
shipping the Lion to Rome by Sulla it may have been left where found in the 20th century (p.
201, line 1 at top).
Now, how these 1000s of marble blocks were presumably all scattered after the fully completed
alleged disassembly, and found themselves scattered in pieces many miles along the Strymonas
River banks, isnt made at all clear in the paper. In fact, the latter story about the Romans having
attempted looting of a Lion sculpture sitting at the summit of Kasta hill (or any hill), or from
anywhere near Amphipolis, carries no historical documentation in Mr. Corsos paper.
It is an at least as plausible (and in fact quite far more possible) scenario that the Romans did not
find the Lion assembled. Also, that they didnt find the Tumulus and its tomb when they arrived
on the scene, after the fall of the last Macedonian king, as the monument was already buried,
inside and out. And that what they found was what it was found in early 1900s, that is a set of
blocks lined up along Strymonas River, having never been assembled, just abandoned. This is
explained extensively in [3]. As to what all these blocks scattered around River Strymonas
represent and where they came from is explained in parsimonious way in [3] as well. In that
reference, the place where the Lion was planned to be located within a system of monuments at
Kasta Hill is mentioned and elaborated. The Lion was meant to be the symbol () of the
whole system of monuments at Kasta, not the Tumulus and its tomb alone [3].


This tale of a story, that the Romans carried out the dis-assembly of a Lion sitting on top of the
Tumulus, is flying against any evidence that such an event did occur, especially in total absence
of any written Roman (or Greek) record about the Lion or the event, when it is well known that
the Romans were good in at least one thing: keeping detailed and meticulous records. In fact,
this lack of records about such a huge monument at Kasta (including the Lion) to start with is a
puzzle that the archeological team has never addressed and come to grips with, although now
there have been suggestions made as to why there has been a lack of records, see [3].

The Amphipolis lion and more analogies

In discussing the Amphipolis Lion and its allegedly 10-meter high base, surprisingly Mr. Corso
makes analogies to the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (p. 200), and Hephaestions pyre in
Babylon, (p. 199) as described by Diodorus. The effort by Mr. Corso is to demonstrate what this
magnificent base of the Amphipolis Lion was supposedly looking like, and why it was meant to
be the mark () of a generals tomb (presumably Hephaestions).
However, the scenario has many holes, given what the very archeological team and Mr. Corso
himself apparently now profess about the Tumulus tomb. Namely that the tomb was soon after
its first construction phase (quite unclear when that took place, Mr. Corso refers to late 320s, p.
220), it was switched to being used as an oracle house of a seer (p. 220). More on this claims
at the concluding remarks. Then, why would anyone be interested in installing a Lion on top of
the hill? Not a question easily answerable, in view of the narrative-scenario-story telling supplied.
What Mr. Corso certainly fails to mention is that none of these monuments were put on top of
hills. Moreover, there is not a single case of a tumulus anywhere in Eurasia at any time period
from the Neolithic till the 1st century BC, of any size, let alone a tumulus of about 160 meters in
diameter, like Kasta, where on top of it anyone placed a marble structure of the magnitude
envisioned by the archeological team, and Mr. Corso in the case of this specific paper under
review. This for a very simple reason: soil erosion. See [3] for more on this issue. Such
comparative analysis is then potentially subject to statistical review. There are a host of other
factors as to why the Lion was not to be installed on top of the hill, and these are presented in
[3]. In summary, it was simply too heavy, both in aesthetics and as a structure, for that hill.

Concluding comments
A host of issues the author could add to the comments and the review just presented. For brevity
concerns, the concluding comments will be confined to three specific areas, for reasons that will
be discussed at the very end. A note on the two Kores will be offered first. It will be followed by
a note on Mr. Corsos supposition that the Hephaestion monument was converted into a house


by someone issuing oracles. Finally, a short note will be added about the change of hearts by
the archeological team, regarding the exterior wall, and its date of construction.

Greek-Egyptian God Serapis, wearing a modius

First, a note in reference to the two Kores (Maidens, Caryatids) of the Chamber after the Entrance
with the two Sphinxes (a Chamber usually referred to as Chamber #1). A key and impressive
element of the two Kores, as well as the one with the head found in the funerary Chamber
(Chamber #3) is that they wear a modius. Mr. Corso in his analysis of the Kores totally disregards
this modius, discussing instead at length the drapery of their chiton and their sandals,
undoubtedly important subjects in style and artwork. But he doesnt spare not even a word on
the modius. However, this is possibly the most important and impressive of all Kores features.

See [6] for more on this symbol. Modius is a symbol of the Greek-Egyptian god Serapis, inherited
from Akhenaten, and with deep Mesopotamian roots.
Mr. Corso contends, based on evidence extracted from the architrave of Chamber #2 (the mosaic
containing Chamber) that this tomb was converted (at some time in the 310s BC decade) from a
prior monument () for Hephaestion into a place of oracles. The evidence is apparently
extracted from some extraordinarily convoluted arguments, related to interpretations of what is
seen in the faded paintings of the Chamber #2 architrave. These sightings are based on some
drawings by the architect of the team, Mr. Lefantzis, standing for various scenes from the
architrave. Such a sequence of arguments by Mr. Corso (and by the archeological team) find this
author incredulous. This slim and tenuous piece of evidence resulting in such extraordinary claim
is reminiscent of the case involving the Lions shoulder, producing the extraordinary claim of an
assembled Lion on the summit and Roman general Sulla. So, beyond just mentioning this bizarre
sequence, no commentary shall be added.
But what may be an interesting revelation coming from Mr. Corsos paper, is an almost incidental
statement, few lines in length and expressed as a hypothesis, at the tail end of the paper. It was
cited already in the main text of this review, and it has to do with the perimeter wall. He says
that maybe the perimeter wall was constructed (thus blocking the Entrance to the house of
oracles) at the end of the Macedonian Kingdom, or even at the end of the Hellenistic years.
Never mind the many inconsistencies this statement contains within it, as it doesnt explain many
architectonic elements of the monument, especially the question that the archeological team has
never been able to answer: how could possibly one get on top of the perimeter wall, to get down
inside the tomb through the 16-step stairway? What is the meaning of this strange stairway?
How was the tomb protected from the elements, given such a stairway? It also fails to answer
key questions; questions such as, for example, who and when made the hill a Tumulus and for
what purpose? How was the burial done, and why, let alone by whom then? If all was looted,
what was it that got protected? Did the burial happen under Roman supervision? And was it at
all possible? Of course, Mr. Corso is mute on all such matters, questions, concerns.
But there lies a more fundamental issue. The statement in Mr. Corsos interpretations is a
torpedo to the initial statements made by Mrs. K. Peristeri (August 2014) that this magnificent
monument sporting an almost half a kilometer in length, three-meter high marble wall was
made during the time of Alexander the Greats death in the last quarter of the 4th century BC.
Of course, this (one is reminded) is not the only erroneous announcement made by the
archeological team, which by late October 2014 was also contending that the tomb at Kasta
Tumulus was intact and not raided.
It was recognized then as it is still recognized today, that the amount of resources required to
carry out such a monumental construction project must have been extraordinary. Of course the
Macedonian coffers were full by the time Alexander III died. But who else, after him would have
had the resources and political power to carry out such a huge undertaking? There simply is no

candidate. One might argue that Demetrius A the Macedon ( ) is

a possible candidate, as is Antigonus II ( ). However, both didnt have
the resources Alexander III had, and both were pre-occupied with large building projects at other
places (example, in Samothrace). However, not much on these directions of inquiry will be
supplied here, as it isnt related to Mr. Corsos paper directly. It is indicative however of how
inadequate the paper regrettably is, as nothing along these lines is even insinuated there.
One could easily dismiss Mr. Corsos statement in his interpretations as one more of those
tenuous statements his paper contains in abundance. But this is not the main point. What is the
point to be retained, is that the archeological team finally is coming around to realizing something
this author has brought up repeatedly in the past: that the tumulus exterior wall was never of
such magnitude as first announced in August 2014.
It also is encouraging that the archeological team is finally getting to recognize another major
point brought up by this reviewer as early as October 2014. Namely that different phases of
construction are involved here. The monument, its tomb and the Entrance as it now stands were
not done at the same time, by the same political establishment, by the same architect, and the
monument served different purposes over the decades (possibly centuries) of its existence.

A recap with a possible minor addendum to the sequence

If one is to schematically draw the monuments Architectonic life cycle, one must recognize these
sequential steps: in Phase I, an initial tomb was there, associated with possibly an inside-the-Hill
temple. Then came the major construction, Phase II, involving the transformation of the natural
hill to a tumulus, and the transformation of the interior (prior temple) into what we now have
(including the mosaic floor, the two Kores, and the two Sphinxes). At the same time the exterior
wall was constructed, parts of which have survived to this day, along with an Entrance that has
not survived today. It is noted that two slightly different moduli were used to frame the marble
coverage: a modulus for the interior isodomic marble coverage, and a slightly different modulus
for the exterior wall; however, there was a strong link set by the two moduli, embedded on the
two Kores base: the grid utilized in deriving the exterior walls total length.
This modulus produced the architectonic marvel, documented in the series of papers by this
author, see [3 5]. Then finally came the third and final (from an Architecture viewpoint)
construction Phase III; it involved a complete restructuring of the Entrance, the burial of the
exterior wall, the setup of the staircase (all as surviving today) along with an Entrance cover that
hasnt survived. In the fourth and final Phase IV, the interior was buried.
Phase II was undertaken immediately following Hephaestions death, when the Kasta Tumulus
tomb was to act as his monument (). Moreover, Phase II is where the Bull Cult imprint
was set, and the linkages to Newgrange are to be found. Phase III was undertaken under
Cassander. Finally Phase IV was undertaken at the tail end of the Macedonian kingdom, possibly

under Philip V, or less likely under his son Perseus. All that is fully documented in papers [3 5]
and all prior ones.
This scenario of historiography on Kasta is the only scenario the author can think of, or has come
across, which accounts for most of the hard core architectural and archeological evidence one
has on Kasta, and what is really known from History and not assumed by the analysts. It doesnt
fully explain all that we actually have come across and recorded (not imagined) there; no scenario
will ever do that. But it is the most satisfying from a statistical and engineering as well as
architectural sense. All others, including that insinuated (since it has never been formally
presented thus far) by the archaeological team of the Kasta excavation (and Mr. Corso) do not
match the historical, architectural and archeological evidence we have as well as this briefly
stated above scenario does. This scenario may also be subjected to statistical evaluation, under
a systematic comparison of its components with actual archeological and architectural evidence.
On the Amphipolis Lion, some additional comments should be added, complementing what the
reviewer has already written about it in the papers cities, and what was brought up as evidence
by Mr. Corso in [1]. If one is to go through the detailed process involving the logistics of the Lions
alternative life paths (the path implied by Mr. Corso, and that implied by the reviewer), one needs
to examine all steps involved in detail. From the mining of the Lions marble blocks and their
shaping at the island of Thasos; their shipment to the spot at Strymonas banks to be unloaded
this constituting the common feature under the two scenarios; their transportation to the top of
the mound; to their assembly there; to their dis-assembly at the summit; their transport down
the hill; their uploading onto barges; and their failed attempt to be shipped (with the intended
destination being Rome) and transported along the Strymonas river, as it has been suggested by
the archeological team and Mr. Corso.
In support of that scenario, they cite some evidence of certain blocks found at Strymonas
riverbed. It is unknown how many blocks were involved, and where exactly on Strymonas
riverbed these marble blocks from the Lion were found and by whom. Unknown has also been
their exact position on the sculptures ensemble was that of the main lion or its alleged base,
or are they totally unrelated to the sculpture ensemble associated with the Lion? This logistical
sequence and its various aspects is a subject never addressed by the archeological team. What
isnt made clear also by the proponents of this scenario is evidence to convincingly show that
these pieces of block were not deposited there during the shipping in but during the shipping out
of the Lions parts, conditional upon the proof that they indeed belong to the Lions ensemble.
Given improvements in riverine and maritime capabilities, it is more likely that shipment failures
occurred at Strymonas riverine transportation in the 4th century BC rather than the 1st century
In summary, the blocks found along Strymonas river banks (and on its river bed) were likely from
the general set of monuments and landscaping intended for the system of monuments as
discussed in [3]. Kasta Tumulus and its tomb, due to their scale, could not be conceived as a
stand alone single structure. Kasta must have had auxiliary structures and an infrastructure

associated with it, as for example ground grading, access roads etc., let alone its possible
connectivity with Hill 133 and the City of Amphipolis. All that design required related marble
blocks. This system most certainly never materialized in full, as political events unfolded in the
early part of the 310s BC decade. The Lion was very likely never assembled in antiquity (and thus
never dis-assembled in antiquity either).
Given the new evidence found in Mr. Corsos paper, and the discussion offered on the Amphipolis
Lion, a possible addendum to the chronological sequence involving the monument at Kasta is
this: given the archeological teams finding that the marble door and its wall (that between the
mosaic floor containing Chamber and the crimson funerary Chamber), as well as the architrave
in the mosaic Chamber are of later than the rest of the Phase II construction; then, in the above
sequence of four Phases, one may add as some intermediate activity following Phase II, and prior
to Phase III, a minor renovation sub-phase. As to the representations as seen by Mr. Lefantzis
on the architrave of the mosaic Chamber, it is the opinion of this reviewer that they are overly
interpreted (not to mention, read as tea leafs) and they should not terribly affect the
historiography of this monument given all the other testimonials offered by the overwhelming
majority and import of all other architectonic elements of the tomb.
In ending this review, this author wish to point out that the three issues brought up in the
concluding remarks (and their treatment or lack thereof by Mr. Corso) are indicative of how
someone can pick and choose items from an ancient artifact, make associations such as item X
of period Y from location Z bears resemblances to item X1 of period Y1 from location Z1, thus it
follows proposition A1 according to references R1. And how, some other analyst may then make
the different association item {X, Y, Z} -> {X2, Y2, Z2} following proposition A2 as of references
R2. Unfortunately, there isnt a way to statistically test the null hypotheses in either A1 or A2.
Thus the two propositions co-exist, in a quantum superposition of states as the dear and
elucidating expression, used often by this author, goes. There are numerous propositions of the
type just mentioned in [1]. In fact the paper is full of them.
It is the beauty and the curse of Archeology.



Akhenaten wearing a modius

[1] Antonio Corso, 2015(?), The sculptures of Tumulus Kasta near Amphipolis, Journal of
Intercultural and Interdisciplinary Archeology, Volume (?), Number (?), pp: 193-222. The paper
is available in pdf format at:
[3] Dimitrios S. Dendrinos, 10/27/2015 3rd Update: 1/10/2016, On the Tumulus at Amphipolis
available on :
[4] Dimitrios S. Dendrinos, 1/18/2016, The Tumulus at Amphipolis: A Summary of a Theory in available here:
[5] Dimitrios S. Dendrinos, 2/14/2016, 1st update: 2/17/2016, The Earths orbit around the Sun
and the Tumulus at Kasta in and found here:
[6] Dimitrios S. Dendrinos FB post of February 7, 2016:

The author Dimitrios S. Dendrinos retains all legal rights to the contents of this
paper. No parts or the whole of it can be reproduced, without the explicit written
consent by the author.