When University of Cincinnati researchers uncovered the tomb of a Bronze Age warrior—left untouched for more than 3,500 years and packed with a spectacular array of precious jewelry, weapons and riches—the discovery was hailed by experts as “the find of a lifetime.”
Now, only a year after archaeologists completed the excavation, new understandings of the artifacts—particularly the discovery of four golden rings—and the insights they provide to the origins of Greek civilization may prove to be the team’s next big discovery.
Shari Stocker, a senior research associate in UC’s Department of Classics, and Jack Davis, the university’s Carl W. Blegen chair in Greek archaeology, will reveal the UC-based team’s findings from the so-called “Griffin Warrior” grave Thursday, Oct. 6, at The American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece.
The husband-and-wife team’s highly anticipated lecture is generating worldwide attention, including a feature in the New York Times.
The ‘find of a lifetime’
Stocker and Davis, along with other UC staff specialists and students, stumbled upon the remarkably undisturbed and intact tomb last May while excavating near the city of Pylos, an ancient city on the southwest coast of Greece.
Inside they discovered the well-preserved remains of what is believed to have been a powerful Mycenaean warrior or priest in his early- to mid-30s who was buried around 1500 B.C. near the archeological excavation of the Palace of Nestor.
Immortalized in Homer’s “Odyssey,” the large administrative center was destroyed by fire sometime around 1180 B.C., but remains the best-preserved Bronze Age palace on the Greek mainland. UC archaeologist Carl Blegen first discovered the Mycenaean ruins in 1939, where he unearthed a number of clay tablets written in Linear B script, the earliest known written form of Greek.
The warrior’s tomb, hailed by the Greek Culture Ministry as the “most important to have been discovered [in continental Greece] in 65 years,” revealed more than 2,000 objects arrayed on and around the body, including four solid gold rings, silver cups, precious stone beads, fine-toothed ivory combs and an intricately built sword, among other weapons.