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The enduring mystery of Alexander the Great’s final resting place

He was one of the greatest conquerors in the ancient world. With territory stretching from Greece to India, Alexander the Great ruled a vast empire during his short life. But it’s unknown exactly where he was buried. That may soon change.

As reported in National Geographic, for several decades Greek archaeologist Calliope Limneos-Papakosta has been looking for the remains of Alexander in Alexandria, Egypt, the city named after him. Papakosta’s team at one point unearthed a marble statue of Alexander the Great. More recently, some of the foundations of the city’s ancient royal quarters have been found.

Alexander the Great was just 20 years old in 336 BC, when he emerged as king of Macedonia, following the death of his father, Philip II. For 12 years, Alexander’s armies swept aside rival empires in Persia and Egypt in a rapid eastward expansion.

While still on campaign, Alexander died at age 32, in 323 BC. Numerous theories regarding his end include typhoid fever, malaria, alcohol and food poisoning, or an autoimmune disorder. Alexander had no heirs ready and following his demise, his new empire was divided up among the top generals.

According to ancient reports, the king’s body was first buried in Memphis, Egypt, and then moved to Alexandria. After his death, many believed Alexander was a god and came to worship at his tomb. There is a reference to Alexander’s body being moved to Alexandria around 280 BC. Also mentioned is a memorial building constructed to house the body.