Griffin warrior found in Greek tomb could rewrite art history
The astonishing discovery by an archaeological team of a rare Minoan seal stone in the treasure-laden tomb of a Bronze Age Greek warrior is poised to rewrite ancient Greek art as we know it.
In 2016, a team of archaeologists from the University of Cincinnati was digging at a Mycenaean site in the Pylos region, when they made a surprising discovery: the untouched tomb of a Bronze Age warrior “Griffon Warrior Dating from around 1500 BC. The then Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports said the find was “the most important to be found in 65 years.”
Now, two years later, the tomb has revealed its most valuable find to date: an intricately carved seal stone that researchers call “one of the finest works of prehistoric Greek art ever discovered.”
A thick crust of limestone has been released to reveal a detailed scene of a victorious warrior, one defeated opponent beneath his feet, and another falling at the point of his sword. And it was all carved in great detail on a piece of stone just over 1.4 inches long.
The co-responsible for the excavation, married team Shari Stocker and Jack Davis of the University of Cincinnati, were pleasantly surprised by the detailed engravings, including the intricate ornamentation of the arms and the decoration of the jewelry. Such work has never been seen before in Aegean Bronze Age art.
“What is fascinating is that the representation of the human body is at a level of detail and musculature not found until the classical period of Greek art 1000 years later,” said Davis.
Many details of ‘Pylos Combat Agate’, as it has been named for the type of rock it is carved on, only become clear when viewed by light microscopy, which has left researchers wondering. technique behind it.
“Some of the details about it are only half a millimeter in size, they’re incredibly small,” Davis said.