The first two (4 and 1) were looted during ancient times, though a mural from Number 1 remained intact, depicting the rape of Persephone by Hades. Number 2, Philip’s tomb has a Doric fascade and is vaulted, and decorated with a painted frieze of a lion hunt with Philip, Alexander and and their servants. The famous eight-pointed star symbol, the Star of Vergina (which has become associated with the Greek-nationalist claim to the name ‘Macedonia’), was embossed on the lid of a gold ossuary inside a marble sacrcophagus.
Also found were five small ivory heads—of Alexander and Philip (right). These heads, along with the skull found within the tomb (with marks on the face from a wound known to have been suffered by Philip) were the significant factors identifying the tomb as his.
Also found and on exhibit is the gold oak-leaf wreath as well as a second ossuary that is said to contain the bones of a queen or concubine. The last of the tombs, Number 3, is believed to be that of a son of Alexander the Great (Alexander IV), who was murdered as an adolescent. This is known as the Prince’s Tomb. There is a miniature frieze on the tomb depicting Dionysos and his consort.
In 1861, French archaologists excavated the five tombs collectively known as the Macedonian Tomb, which lie uphill from the village of Vergina. One of them is believed to be that of Eurydice (Evridiki), Philip’s mother. There is a marble throne inside with carved sphinxes on the armrests, sides, and footrest. The tomb resembles a temple, with an Ionic fascasde and half-columns. There is not much left, except foundations, of the Palace of Palatitsa, which was guessed to have been built during the third century BC, as a summer villa for Antigonus Gonatus, the last Macedonian king. The courtyard is better preserved, with colonnades and porticos, and a mosaic. The site is appealing, with a large oak tree and nice views of surrounding countryside.