Saturday, May 29, 2010

Skull-blogging: Vergina Edition

Does a certain substantial blog hold a monopoly over Vergina Blogging? I think not. More importantly, Messrs. Treyson & Clerisy (Riddled's legal advisors) do not think do either.

The 1977 excavation of Royal Tomb II at Vergina recovered a male skeleton, generally in a bad state, as most of us would be after cremation and a couple of millennia in a tomb. Neave and Prag of Manchester University identified the skull as that of Philip II of Macedon, on the basis of damage to the right eye socket. This is the Philip who was father of Alexander; holder of All Thrace Barbarism Trophy for 345 BCE, and "a quiet man who kept to himself a lot, no trouble at all" according to his neighbours.

Neave and Prag went on to reconstruct his face, following the techniques of the Manchester school:

DIY Facial Reconstruction!

Philip II of Macedon has an INVITINGLY LARGE FOREHEAD. Also there is the chance of Morgellons syndrome. But fortunately here at the Riddled Research Laboratories we have been working night and day (until the barstaff kicked us out at closing time) to address the existential threat of Morgellons. The resulting MorgellonsShield is only a detection system but that's a start.

There is also a Moscow school of forensic facial reconstruction. However, M. M. Gerasimov has already received his fair share of free publicity, what (a) inspiring the Prof. Andreev character in Gorky Park, and (b) being mentioned in Day Watch for opening the tomb of Tamurlane in June 1941.* Not to mention the absence of Vergina.

ACADEMIC CAVEAT: Other archaeologists argue that the apparent damage to the eye socket is an artefact of dry-bone cremation plus a flawed reassembly of the skull fragments, meaning that the tomb was actually that of Alexander's half-brother Philip III Arrhidaeus, so the entire facial reconstruction is spurious but SHUT UP SMUT.

* This allowed Gerasimov to reconstruct Tamurlane's face from the skeletal remains; it also unwittingly unleashed a curse and precipitated the German invasion of Russia. He re-interred Tamurlane's remains and sealed the tomb in 1942, to coincide with the Red Army's successful counterattack. Operation Uranus. I am not making this up.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Re-interring Tamurlane resulted in everyone chilling out on the Eastern front.

Substance McGravitas said...

He's no Scott Stapp.

ckc (not kc) said...

If he was Philip's half-brother, shouldn't he have been Phillip II.V?

(math (and genetics) is hard)

ckc (not kc) said... favorite character in the saga is Polyperchon (in this picture, clearly not pining for the fjords)