Archaeologists found two ancient tombs lined with gold close to the Mycenaean-era palace of Pylos in the southern Peloponnese region of Greece. The 3,500-year-old tombs contained carved jewelry as well as human remains.
The remains are still being analyzed, so it’s still unclear as to how many humans were actually in the tombs, how old they were when they passed away, and if they were male or female, although it’s possible that princes and princesses were among those found in the tombs.
The tombs were discovered close to the “Palace of Nestor” which was found in 1939. Additionally, there is another tomb nearby that was discovered in 2015 that contained gold and silver treasure, jewelry, and bronze arms.
The two recently discovered tombs were buried underneath 40,000 stones that were each around the size of watermelons which protected the tombs against grave robbers. Additionally, the Greek culture ministry stated that the dome-shaped roofs covering the tombs collapsed during antiquity that caused the chambers to fill up with earth and rubble.
When researchers entered the tombs, they discovered a pile of gold leaf that had been originally on the walls. They also found several pieces of jewelry that included a gold ring that showed two bulls with sheaves of barley around them.
Jack Davis, who is a classics professor and archaeologist at the University of Cincinnati, as well as the co-director of the team that found the tombs, said in a statement, “It’s an interesting scene of animal husbandry – cattle mixed with grain production. It’s the foundation of agriculture.” The statement, as well as several pictures of the items found in the tombs, can be seen here.
Sharon Stocker, who is a senior research associate at the University of Cincinnati and the co-director of the team, added more information in the statement that explained an agate seal stone was also found in the tomb that depicted two lion-like creatures called “genii” that were carrying an incense burner and serving vase. The items they were carrying were an offering to an altar that was decorated with two horns and a sapling tree. And there is a 16-point star located above the lions.
A gold pendant depicting the Egyptian goddess Hathor was discovered in one of the tombs and could have been placed there for protection. “Its discovery is particularly interesting in light of the role she played in Egypt as protectress of the dead,” Davis noted.
Numerous other items made from gold, amber, amethyst, and carnelian were found in the tombs. The stones are particularly interesting, as they came from different parts of the world – amethyst came from Egypt while amber came from the Baltic. This brings up an important clue as to the trading that took place between the Mycenaean people and other countries.
The tombs were built at the same time that the Mycenaean civilization thrived in Greece as well as on the island of Crete. The civilization was known for their huge palaces as well as their Linear B writing system. The Mycenaean people thrived there from around 1600 to 1100 B.C. when their civilization collapsed over 3,000 years ago.