A 3,000yr Old Discovery Has Almost Completely Rewritten Ancient Greek History
The history of some of Earth’s most ancient civilizations have a lot of holes in the timeline because to be quite honest there isn’t much to tell because there just are not enough accountings.
A recent archaeological discovery has brought forth new perspective on the history of ancient Greece. A Bronze Age warrior’s tomb was discovered in 2015 that excited archaeologists. It is filled with all sorts of historical riches. The tomb of the Mycenean noble was dated at approximately 3,500 years old when discovered.
Part of the problem, as the New York Post notes, is that archaeologists could not fully unlock the secrets the tomb held because of the fact that many of the objects in the site were incredibly fragile.
Almost two years later, after careful examination and cleaning of the objects, the tale of the “Griffin Warrior” is now being told.
His name remains unknown. His title comes from an ivory plaque boldly carved with the image of a griffin — a legendary creature with body and tail of a lion, with the head and wings of an eagle — carefully buried with him.
We know he was rich. We know he was powerful. All thanks to the objects he was buried with.
Among the nearly 3,000 objects discovered, one in particular stands out among all of them: a limestone encrusted bead, a small object with a huge revelation.
The bead is about 3.6 centimeters across, and had 3,500 years of dirt and grime covering up its secrets. Because of its small size, it was put aside while the bigger and more “dramatic” items were examined.
However, since the bead has been cleaned, its history has been revealed, a history that archaeologists missed when they first discovered it.
“It was after cleaning, during the process of drawing and photography, that our excitement slowly rose as we gradually came to realize that we had unearthed a masterpiece,” the husband-and-wife researchers record in their study.
“Looking at the image for the first time was a very moving experience and it still is,” University of Cincinnati excavation co-leader Shari Stocker stated. “It’s brought some people to tears.”
In this tiny bead is an incredible amount of detail.
The agate gem shows a near naked, long-haired warrior plunging his sword into the neck of his heavily shielded, spear-wielding foe. The body of a second opponent lays crumpled at his feet.
This is the full image, brought to more detail:
“What is fascinating is that the representation of the human body is at a level of detail and musculature that one doesn’t find again until the classical period of Greek art 1,000 years later,” says project co-lead, Professor Jack Davis.
Someone in this time period apparently designed depictions of the human body with an accuracy that was believed to have taken another 1,000 years to develop. That’s quite a change in world history.
“I think he (the Griffin Warrior) would have certainly identified himself with the hero depicted on the seal,” Stoker says.
The gem was designed to be worn on the wrist, like a watch, the researchers say. In fact, the hero on the gem is wearing one just like it.
Experts have not yet identified what mythical scene the stone depicts. But it was no doubt a popular tale of the time.
And it’s through these tales we know much of what we do about the Greek Bronze Age.
Most of the Mycenean history that we have is in the epic poems written by Homer such as the Illiad and The Odyssey. Beyond that, not much else comes from the Mycenean time period.