British soldiers may have looted the Amphipolis tomb during WWI

In 1915, Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos requested the British government’s help in fighting the Bulgarians in the Greek region of Macedonia. As a result, the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry (KSLI), a regiment of the British Army formed in 1881, was stationed in and around Thessaloniki and specifically on the Struma front between Lake Doiran and Amphipolis. A photograph has been released which depicts men of this army force holding skulls found around the Amphipolis tomb indicating that the tomb may have been plundered almost a century ago.


© Ministry of Information First World War Official Collection

In addition to this news, It is already known that the British were in the process of removing the 5.3 metre-high marble statue of a lion, situated on top of the tomb, when their efforts were thwarted by an attack from the Bulgarian army force.

The marble statue of a lion, originally situated on top of the Amphipolis tomb

The marble statue of a lion, originally situated on top of the Amphipolis tomb. © Kkonstan

During the excavation work conducted by Greek archaeologists in the last month, it has been discovered that a section of the marble wall separating the second chamber from the third chamber appears to have been sealed off after having already been opened indicating that the tomb may have been looted during the first World War.


Smashed corner of the second © Greek Ministry of Culture


Evidence supporting this theory has been found in the British Museum. Dr Eric Gardner who was posted in Greece as a medic removed artifacts found at Amphipolis and donated them to the British Museum.


Items removed from Amphipolis and donated to the British Museum by Dr Gardner. © Trustees of the British Museum

In the last month, the excavations underway at the Amphipolis Tomb in Greece have been dominating the media around the globe. The British Museum, however, has yet to comment on the new findings or indeed the items it currently possesses from the Amphipolis tomb.

This is yet another example of the misguided mentality which lead an amateur British archaeologist to illegally remove artefacts from Greece. An action which consequently reflects badly on the British Museum and government for their tolerance of such actions. How many more examples of looting must be presented before the British government changes its stance and decides to rectify past wrongs?



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