Greece’s Culture Ministry has announced that archaeologists have discovered two new monumental royal tombs dating from 3,500 years ago at the site of the ancient city of Pylos in southern Greece.
According to the news, the new finds suggest that Pylos played a surprisingly prominent role in early Mycenaean civilization. The rich new find brought to light thousands of pieces of gold foil, which are remnants of the sheets of gold that once lined the tomb floors, which would have given the interior of the tomb a unique glow. Other recovered artifacts included a golden seal ring and a golden Egyptian amulet bearing the likeness of the goddess Hathor.
The Ministry said the archaeologists discovered the tombs near a large Bronze Age palace of Pylos that featured in Homer’s Odyssey. They also said the discovery is important because it sheds light on the early phases of Greece’s Mycenaean civilization. Archaeologists also found beads made of amber, carnelian and malachite. Some of the items suggest that Pylos has trading connections with Egypt and more other distant lands, a fact that was previously unknown.
The larger of the two tombs has a diameter of 12 meters (36 feet) at floor level, with 4.5 meter (15 foot) walls still surviving. Originally, the tomb would have stood at about 9 or 10 meters high. The smaller of the tombs was -thirds the size of the larger.
The new discoveries were made by the husband and wife team of Jack L. Davis and Sharon R. Stocker, from the University of Cincinnati who have been working at the site since 1992.
Some readers may remember another of the couple’s discoveries from back in 2015. The archaeologists are crediting with unearthing the spectacular shaft grave just outside the ancient palace of Pylos dubbed the “Tomb of the Griffin Warrior.”
This tomb’s occupant was buried with a magnificent long bronze sword along with a wealth of Minoan artwork and seal stones of the highest quality. One of these, the so-called Pylos Combat Agate (above magnified many times), is a Minoan work of art of extraordinary characteristics that scientists are still puzzling over. As for the tomb’s occupant, he was named the Griffin Warrior, after a mythical beast carved on an ivory plaque in the grave.
If the archaeologists are right, this warrior may indeed be the leader of the first kingdom on the European mainland.