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Experts divided on tomb

Cairo (AFP) - The Egyptian authorities yesterday supported claims that archaeologists had found the tomb of Alexander the Great, and said the discovery could be as important as the unearthing of the burial site of the pharaoh Tutankhamun.

"Until we find another tomb I think we can say this is the tomb of Alexander," said Abdel Halim Nureddin, head of the Egyptian antiquities authority, after visiting the site near Siwa in the western desert. "We have a good chance this is the tomb."

Mr Nureddin said a Greek archaeologist, Liana Soulvatzi, had found a "typically Macedonian" burial site at Al-Maraki, 450 miles west of Cairo. It had two large steles, or standing blocks, and one small one, which referred directly to Alexander.

Some Western experts remained sceptical, however, insisting that Alexander was buried in Alexandria, the port city he founded in 332 BC. He was crowned in the Temple of Ammon in Siwa in 330 BC, three years after conquering Egypt, and died, aged 33, in Babylon in 323 BC. His body was later taken to Egypt for burial.