An opulent underground monument in northern Greece that caused a stir when excavated last year may have been a symbolic grave — but not the final resting place of — the closest friend and general of ancient warrior-king Alexander the Great, the excavator says.

Archaeologist Katerina Peristeri said Wednesday she believes the vaulted structure, decorated with sculptures and a mosaic floor, "was a funerary monument for Hephaestion."

The Macedonian nobleman grew up with Alexander and died in Persia in 324 B.C., predeceasing the king by a year and driving him into a frenzy of grief during which he ordered a series of monuments to be built for Hephaestion across his newly-won empire.

Peristeri said there was no evidence Hephaestion was actually buried at the tomb in Amhipolis, east of Thessaloniki.