Casta Tomb at Amphipolis a Monument of "Exceptional Historical Significance"

Αssociated Press

Two large stone sphinxes are seen under a barrel-vault topping the entrance to an ancient tomb under excavation at Amphipolis in northern Greece. (AP Photo/Culture Ministry, HO)

In statements after visiting the Casta Tomb in the Amphipolis region in northern Greece on Friday, Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni described it as "a very rare monument of exceptional historical and archaeological significance, but also a tremendous developmental resource for the region."

Mendoni was carrying out her first official visit to the site in her ministerial capacity, though she had been actively involved in the excavation as the ministry's general secretary in previous years. She was briefed by ministry officials and officials at the Ephorate of Antiquities in Serres about the progress of the excavation work prior to her visit.

In statements, Mendoni thanked the Central Macedonia Regional Governor Apostolos Tzitzikostas for the region's support. "The aim is to meet the deadlines set by the Regional Operational Program of the Region of Central Macedonia, which is financing the project," she said. Mendoni noted that this would allow more resources to be requested from the region, which could then be supplemented with the funds from the culture ministry in order to produce a comprehensive, scientific study on showcasing the monument.

Mendoni also announced that all studies concerning urgent restoration work that is due to begin immediately will be examined by the Central Archaeological Council on December 17.

The minister declined to give a clear timetable for when the monument will be open to the public but indicated that, provided all deadlines are met, it might be possible for special groups to visit at the end of 2021.