Bronze Age royal tombs unearthed in Greece

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Handout photos, released by the Greek Culture Ministry of some of the objects found in a  3500-year-old undisturbed shaft grave near the Palace of Nestor at Pylos in southwestern Greece.

The excavation of the grave in 2015 and two tholos (or beehive) tombs discovered nearby in 2018 were presented by excavators Dr. Shari Stocker and Professor Jack Davis at the Greek Ministry of Culture on 17 December.

The finds include a gold ring depicting bulls flanked by sheaves of barley and a pendant showing an Egyptian goddess.

The grave of the ?Griffin Warrior?, 3500-year-old undisturbed shaft grave near the Palace of Nestor at Pylos in southwestern Greece
A handout photo, released on 17 December 2019 by the Greek Culture Ministry, shows a gold ring depicting two bulls, from the grave of the Griffin Warrior.

Davis and Stocker, archaeologists in UC’s classics department, found the two beehive-shaped tombs in Pylos, Greece, last year while investigating the area around the grave of an individual they have called the “Griffin Warrior,” a Greek man whose final resting place they discovered nearby in 2015.

The grave of the ?Griffin Warrior?, 3500-year-old undisturbed shaft grave near the Palace of Nestor at Pylos in southwestern Greece
A gold piece depicting a double argonaut, a pelagic octopus,found at the grave of the Griffin Warrior.

The identity of the Griffin Warrior is a matter for speculation. Stocker said the combination of armor, weapons and jewelry found in his tomb strongly indicate he had military and religious authority, likely as the king known in later Mycenaean times as a wanax.

The grave of the ?Griffin Warrior?, 3500-year-old undisturbed shaft grave near the Palace of Nestor at Pylos in southwestern Greece
A handout photo, released on 17 December 2019 by the Greek Culture Ministry, shows a plan of the area showing the “Griffin Warrior” grave and the two tholos (beehive) tombs of the grave of the Griffin Warrior, 3500-year-old undisturbed shaft grave near the Palace of Nestor at Pylos in southwestern Greece.

Likewise, the princely tombs paint a picture of accumulated wealth and status, she said. They contained amber from the Baltic, amethyst from Egypt, imported carnelian and lots of gold. The tombs sit on a scenic vista overlooking the Mediterranean Sea on the spot where the Palace of Nestor would later rise and fall to ruins.

The grave of the ?Griffin Warrior?, 3500-year-old undisturbed shaft grave near the Palace of Nestor at Pylos in southwestern Greece
An aerial view of the Tholos VI, VII tombs, the beehive tombs discovered near the Palace of Nestor at Pylos in southwestern Greece.

The US researchers say their discovery will provide new clues about early Mycenaean trade and culture.

The grave of the ?Griffin Warrior?, 3500-year-old undisturbed shaft grave near the Palace of Nestor at Pylos in southwestern Greece
Agem depicting the mythical Mycenaean genii, from the grave of the Griffin Warrior.

A team from the University of Cincinnati (UC) spent more than 18 months excavating the site and documenting the artefacts.

 

Via EPA-EFE/ University of Cincinnati

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