Unsullied Pylos tomb probably that of wealthy warrior or priest

4 November 2015
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A heavy gold chain with three beads placed asymmetrically along its length and sea shells beneath the skeleton that would allow very accurate dating were just some of the rich finds uncovered by archaeologists Jack Davis and Sharon Stoker in a 3,500-year-old grave in Pylos, southwest Greece.

In a meeting with Culture and Sports Minister Aristidis Baltas on Wednesday, during which they briefed him on the valuable discoveries made in the tomb, the two archaeologists said the grave was probably that of a male warrior aged 30 to 35, or possibly a priest. They said no other information was currently available, such as the cause of death, because the skeletal remains had yet to be fully examined.

“He must have been a warrior, he could have been a priest. In antiquity, the same person could become a warrior, could be a king or priest, depending on the season and the role that he had, month to month. We cannot assign a single role to the man in the grave,” Dr. Davis said.

They emphasised the significance of the finds in the particular tomb, which was found alone without any other graves nearby, because there was no evidence that it had been looted.

“It is a very rich, undisturbed grave and this is very important, because usually the graves that are found are looted. It has not been opened and this is an exceptional opportunity to investigate the finds on the spot,” the excavators said.

The meeting was attended by the culture ministry’s general secretary Maria Andredaki-Vlazaki and Messinia Antiquities Curator Evangelia Militsi, who said the finds will eventually be displayed at the Pylos-Nestoros Municipality Archaeological Museum after certain improvements to the building had been made, which were scheduled to be completed by the end of December.

She said a new, modern roof structure covering the Palace of Nestor will be completed at around the same time. The Palace of Nestor is currently closed to the public and is expected to re-open in early March.

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