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Archaeologists Discover Ancient Greek Royal Tombs Dating Back 3,500 Years

An aerial view of a 3,500-year-old tomb discovered near the southwestern Greek town of Pylos. Recovered grave goods included a golden seal ring and a golden Egyptian amulet.
AP
An aerial view of a 3,500-year-old tomb discovered near the southwestern Greek town of Pylos. Recovered grave goods included a golden seal ring and a golden Egyptian amulet.

A team of American archaeologists has discovered two large ancient Greek royal tombs dating back some 3,500 years near the site of the ancient city of Pylos in southern Greece. The findings cast a new light on the role of the ancient city — mentioned in Homer's Odyssey — in Mediterranean trade patterns of the Late Bronze Age.

Each of the two tombs — one about 39 feet in diameter and the other about 28 feet — was built in a dome-shape structure known as a tholos.

Among the findings inside the tombs were evidence of gold-lined floors, a golden seal ring and a gold pendant with the image of the ancient Egyptian goddess Hathor. The amulet suggests that Pylos traded with Egypt during Greece's Mycenaean civilization, which lasted roughly between 1650 and 1100 B.C. Homer's epics are set in the latter stages of this period.

The discovery was made by Jack L. Davis and Sharon R. Stocker, an archaeological team from the University of Cincinnati. They had previously uncovered another burial site nearby in 2015 known as the Griffin Warrior grave. That site yielded significant findings including gold and silver treasure, jewelry and a long bronze sword believed to have possibly belonged to one of the early kings of Pylos.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Richard Gonzales
Richard Gonzales is NPR's National Desk Correspondent based in San Francisco. Along with covering the daily news of region, Gonzales' reporting has included medical marijuana, gay marriage, drive-by shootings, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California relevant to the rest of the country.