Skeleton from Greek mystery tomb to be identified next month: Officials

A photo shows a view of the site where archaeologists have unearthed a funeral mound dating from the time of Alexander the Great, in Amphipolis, Northern Greece.

ATHENS - Details on the identity of a mystery skeleton found in a massive tomb dating from the era of Alexander the Great in Greece are to be revealed next month, the culture ministry said Friday.

"The result of macroscopic study of the bone tissue (identifying) sex, age and height will be announced in Jan," the ministry said in a statement, adding that the research will be conducted by universities in Thessaloniki and Thrace.

The discovery in Nov of the skeleton inside the huge fourth century BC structure - the largest tomb ever unearthed in Greece - added to the excitement over the excavation which had made global headlines in the summer.

The tomb, measuring 500m in circumference and dug into a 30m hill in Amphipolis, northern Greece - was found to contain sculptures of sphinxes and caryatids, intricate mosaics and coins featuring the face of Alexander the Great.

There has been widespread speculation over who was buried there: from Roxana, Alexander's Bactrian wife, to Olympias, the king's mother, to one of his generals.

The ministry on Friday dismissed as "unfounded" claims on Greek websites that the skeleton belongs to a 54-year-old woman, and is therefore likely to be Olympias.

Historians say it is highly unlikely to have been Alexander himself, who conquered the Persian empire and much of the known world before his death at the age of 32.