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Alexander's Final Resting Place

Andrew Chugg pinpoints the Emperor’s long-lost tomb.

The 120-foot Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was ostensibly a representation of the sun god Helios. It is now believed to have been modelled on the features of Alexander the Great, whose conquests had irrevocably altered the course of history mere decades before its creation. The image of the Colossus towering over the harbour of Rhodes provides an apt metaphor for the way Alexander’s achievements loom over the history of the ancient world. Partly for reasons of his historical importance and partly for the romance of his glamorous career, the hunt for Alexander’s mysteriously vanished tomb has come to be regarded as the archaeologist’s analogue for the Arthurian quest for the Sangrail. At its crudest there are elements of the excitement and drama of Raiders of the Lost Ark. I myself got some sense of this from the violent reverberations of a dilapidated taxi during a 90mph ride along the desert road from Cairo to Alexandria in my search for his tomb. On arrival among the recently rain-drenched streets of the great port city, it transpired that the wiper blades of our vehicle existed for ornamental purposes only. As the traffic dodging around us disappeared behind a veil of fine spray, I too began to feel a certain affinity with the perilous life of Indiana Jones.

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