Archaeologists Discover Tomb Stuffed With Riches

Inside: a 'griffin warrior'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2015 10:19 AM CDT
Ancient 'Griffin Warrior' Had a Whole Lot of Bling
The warrior sure had bling, including this solid-gold necklace.   (Greek Culture Ministry)

Archaeologists have discovered a treasure trove in the undisturbed grave of a warrior who died some 3,500 years ago in Greece. Found in the ancient city of Pylos in May, the 5-foot-deep grave contained a bronze sword with an ivory hilt; a gold-hilted dagger; four gold rings; a gold necklace; gold, silver, and bronze cups; carnelian, amethyst, jasper, and agate beads; impressive stone carved seals; a bronze mirror; remains of a bronze suit of armor; an ivory plaque carved with a griffin; and more, per the New York Times and Los Angeles Times. "Probably not since the 1950s have we found such a rich tomb," says a researcher. "You can count on one hand the number of tombs as wealthy as this one," another adds. Many of the treasures are from the Minoan civilization on Crete to the southeast and may hold clues about the mainland Mycenaean civilization.

The grave of the so-called "griffin warrior" dates to "a transformative moment in the Bronze Age" when the Mycenaean civilization began borrowing heavily from the "higher culture" of the Minoan civilization, researchers explain, noting further study may reveal how the Minoan culture was adopted and adapted into what became Mycenaean palace culture. For now, scientists guess the male warrior, aged 30 to 35, was perhaps the leader of a chiefdom, though DNA analysis could reveal more about his origin. "Whoever he was, he seems to have been celebrated for his trading or fighting in nearby island of Crete and for his appreciation of the more-sophisticated and delicate of the Minoan civilization," a scientist says in a release. "It's almost as if the occupant wants his story to be told." (A professor recently found priceless coins from ancient Greece and Rome.)

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