A Greek archaeologist is "almost certain" that he has found the tomb of Aristotle, some 2,300 years after the philosopher's death in 322 B.C.
Archaeologist Kostas Sismanidis beieves the tomb is inside a horseshoe-shaped, domed building in the ancient Greek seaside city of Stagira, where Aristotle was born in 384 B.C. He made the announcement Thursday at the "Aristotle 2400 Years" World Congress, a conference for international Aristotelian scholars held in the city of Thessaloniki.
While he has no solid proof that the tomb belonged to Aristotle, Sismanidis says the location matches a physical description of Aristotle's tomb from an 11th century A.D., Arabic-language biography of the philosopher, which claims that the people of Stagira placed the philosopher's ashes into an urn and took them back to their home city for safekeeping.
"We think, without having proof but only strong indications, that it all points towards this theory" that this is the philosopher's final resting place, Sismanidis said at the conference.
Some have expressed doubt about the claims.
"The urge to connect the material evidence with personalities known from our historical and literary canon is enormously strong for all kinds of reasons, so we have to be extra careful in these cases, to protect against our natural inclination to want to 'connect the dots,'" said Dimitri Nakassis, a classics professor at the University of Toronto. "In this case at least we know this monument is in Stageira, Aristotle's home town, so that makes the identification more likely. But the general point remains: anyone working in Stageira is going to want to make a connection to Aristotle, so we have good reasons to want to be extra careful."
Greek radio station Sto Kokkino reported that Sismanidis' discovery was a result of over 20 years' excavation and research. The archaeologist claimed to have found Aristotle's tomb back in 1996, the outlet noted. He has officially retired since then, but continued to work on the site to confirm his hypothesis.
The philosopher was originally believed to be buried in Chalcis, a town on the Greek island of Euboea, where he died of a stomach disease. Stagira and Chalcis are over 300 miles away from each other.
Danae Leivada contributed to this report.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect Dimitri Nakassis' position at the University of Toronto.