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Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology



Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World
Brown University
Box 1837 / 60 George Street
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: (401) 863-3188
Fax: (401) 863-9423
[email protected]

Posted at Dec 10/2007 02:37PM:
Kellie Slater: The famed Manolis Andronicos was born on October 23, 1919 in Prousa (modern day Bursa). In 1922 his family moved to Thesslonike where he spent the rest of his life dedicated to the archaeology of surrounding areas, most important being his work in Vergina. In 1936, while still in school, he began excavating the palace of Vergina under the direction of K.A. Rhomaios, who would later urge him to excavate the Great Tumulus at Vergina. Unfortunately, his work excavating the palace was cut short at the beginning of World War II; he went to the Middle East and served with the Free Greek Forces.

He eventually returned to Thesslonike were he earned his doctorate from the Aristotelian University of Thesslonike in 1952. In 1954 he went to Oxford for two years and worked with the respected Sir John Beazley who is known for his expansive knowledge of Greek art. Upon his return to Thesslonike, Andronicos was appointed Lecturer at the University of Thesslonike where he eventually became a Professor in 1964. During his time at the University Andronicos was involved a variety of different projects: he had a collection of publications on art, archaeology and philosophy and he lead excavations in Macedon, Veroia, Naousa, Kilkis, Chalcikice, Dion and Thessaloniki. However, his most well known work comes from Vergina.

Andronicos spent many years excavating the cemetery below Vergina; from his expansive work at the cemetery he established “a chronology for the Iron Age inhabitants of the area” (Borza: 256). He was simultaneously excavating the palace at Vergina with his colleague G. Bakalakis. During his work in Vergina, Andronicos had always been aware of the Great Tumulus looming near the palace but he knew that such an excavation would be very expensive and time consuming. However, when he finished his other projects, the cemetery in 1961 and the palace in 1974, he focused all his attention to the Great Tumulus.

With support from the Aristotelian University of Thesslonike and the Greek government Andronicos began excavating the Great Tumulus in 1976 and 1977 Andronicos uncovered three fourth century tombs, one of which he, and others, argue to be the tomb of Philip II of Macedon. Two of the tombs were left unplundered and contained a number of impressive pieces that give important insight to the ancient Macedonian culture and make “it a central issue in the archaeology of the ancient Balkans” (Borza: 758).

After his huge discovery, Andronicos continued to devote himself to the study of archaeology: he continued to teach at the University of Thesslonike, where he trained future archaeologists, he lead excavations at Vergina and Palatitsia, he gave lectures around the world and published many important works regarding his work on the Great Tumulus. He was a member of the Archaeological Society of Athens, the German Archaeological Institute and the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies. He was awarded the Grand Phoenix Cross, which is the highest civilian award in Greece. Andronicos used his fame to further archaeological research in the area and “that decision generally benefited Macedonian archaeology by maintaining a high level of interest in the region” (Borza: 758).

Andronicos died on March 30, 1992. He has recently become a national hero because much of his work is evidence of the “strong ethnic and cultural ties between the ancient Macedonians and the Greeks of the city-states,” which has lately become an important issue (Borza: 758).

Andronicos, Manolis. "The Great Tumulus." Vergina II. Ed. Lucy Braggiotti. Trans. Alexandra Doumas. Athens: Oly Andronicos, 1994. 29-36.

Borza, Eugene N. "Manolis Andronikos." American Journal of Archaeology 96.4: 757-8. JSTOR. 10 Dec. 2007 <>.