Grave of the Griffin Warrior
October 26, 2015 11:35 AM   Subscribe

Archaeologists have discovered one of the richest Mycenaean Greek tombs ever found: a mostly intact shaft grave in Pylos dating from 1600-1400 BC. [SLNYT]
posted by hoist with his own pet aardvark (15 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
Oh, this would be such an interesting period/culture to know more about...
posted by Segundus at 11:42 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Moar links!
posted by infini at 11:47 AM on October 26, 2015

You can see more images of some of the finds and of the grave, along with a brief list of objects, in this University of Cincinnati article. But I suspect the research stemming from this will be exciting for years to come.
posted by jetlagaddict at 12:20 PM on October 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


It always galls me TO NO END when I watch movies or read comics or whatever set in Bronze Age Greece and they're all wearing Classical Greek clothing and armor and shit when Mycenaean would not only be more historically accurate but it's SO MUCH MORE BADASS TOO
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:31 PM on October 26, 2015 [6 favorites]

I hope it's either fully excavated or well-guarded, my understanding is that there's been a real increase in smuggling artifacts out of Greece with the economic crisis.

Beautiful stuff, and from such a critical period, too.
posted by tavella at 12:51 PM on October 26, 2015

The great deal of seals is interesting. The Egyptians gave seals to clients (including Mycenaeans), and maybe the Minoans did too. Given that the Minoans likely extracted raw materials from the Greek mainland, the presence of high status artifacts from Crete could have been their way of rewarding and strengthening their trade contacts.
posted by Emma May Smith at 1:28 PM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is interesting. Seals are what dominate the finds in Mohenjodaro and Harappa, the Indus Valley civilizations as well.
posted by infini at 1:33 PM on October 26, 2015

I suppose it's not surprising that seals got repurposed: they were often made of fine materials with elegant carving. There was a story earlier this year about one found in Russia, near Rostov-on-Don. The grave was about 2,000 years old but the seal itself seems to be nearly a thousand years older - and its owner's name is written in Hebrew! No, I have no idea either. Source and links here.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:14 PM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

The warrior seems to have been something of a dandy.
posted by zakur at 4:15 PM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

I thought that gag was otiose. Also, does it even follow that, if you comb your hair to meet the Bull God or whatever awaits on the other side of that shaft grave, you are a "dandy"?
posted by thelonius at 4:24 PM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is an exciting find, but I look forward to reading about it from some more accurate source; Nicholas Wade is not exactly my go-to guy for science. (I may be prejudiced because everything he's written about language over the years has been abysmally stupid.)
posted by languagehat at 5:25 PM on October 26, 2015

Instead, the team made a rich and rare discovery of an intact, Bronze Age warrior’s tomb dating back to about 1500 B.C., [from jetlagaddict's link]
~1500 B.C. places the tomb in tantalizingly close proximity to the volcanic eruption thought (by many) to have ended classical Minoan civilization:
The Minoan eruption is a key marker for the Bronze Age chronology of the Eastern Mediterranean world. It provides a fixed point for aligning the entire chronology of the second millennium BCE in the Aegean, because evidence of the eruption is found throughout the region. Despite this evidence, the exact date of the eruption has been difficult to determine. Archaeologists have traditionally placed it at approximately 1500 BCE.[14][21] Radiocarbon dates, including analysis of an olive branch buried beneath a lava flow from the volcano which gave a date between 1627 BCE and 1600 BCE (95% confidence interval), suggest a date over a century earlier.[22][23][24] Thus, the radiocarbon dates and the archaeological dates are in substantial disagreement.[25]

In 2012 one of the proponents of an archaeological date, Felix Höflmayer, argued that archaeological evidence could be consistent with a date as early as 1590 BCE, reducing the discrepancy to around fifty years.[26]

Conversely, the radiocarbon dates have been argued to be inaccurate on scientific grounds. This argument has been made in particular by Malcolm Wiener.[27][28][29] The primary problem is that 14C-deficient carbon, sourced from the environment, might easily have affected the radiocarbon dates.
posted by jamjam at 6:01 PM on October 26, 2015

Post title sounds a lot like a D&D module. And is equally awesome. Archaeologist Rolls 20, discovers bronze age loot and a yard-long sword.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 9:13 PM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

Dandy? Spartan soldiers combed and bound their hair before battle.

This grave is awesome news. Pylos is itself a must-see.
posted by Autumn Leaf at 11:33 PM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

(By "Pylos" I mean the so-called Palace of Nestor, although the nearby modern town also has its charms.)
posted by Autumn Leaf at 12:39 AM on October 27, 2015

« Older "Ma'am, this is a jail."   |   Mindset Revisited Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments