Newspapers and websites around the world were intrigued about the so-called “the find of a lifetime.” The rich and rare discovery is featured in The New York Times, CNN, BBC, National Geographic, etc.

It all started when a team of archaeologists led by University of Cincinnati researchers uncovered a 3500-year-old artifact in an untouched tomb.

Shari Stocker, a senior research associate in UC’s Department of Classics, and Jack Davis, the university’s Carl W. Blegen chair in Greek archaeology, revealed the UC-based team’s findings from the so-called “Griffin Warrior” grave at The American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece.

Stocker and Davis, along with other UC staff specialists and students, stumbled upon the remarkably undisturbed and intact tomb last May while excavating near the city of Pylos, an ancient city on the southwest coast of Greece.

The tomb was originally discovered in 1930, but due to legal issues with the Greek government limited excavations until recent years. Inside they discovered the well-preserved remains of what is believed to have been a powerful Mycenaean warrior or priest in his early- to mid-30s who was buried around 1500 B.C. near the archeological excavation of the Palace of Nestor.

The tomb belonging to the “Griffin Warrior,” a super-wealthy ancient Mycenaean warrior, were impressive pieces of armor, weapons, and jewels. However, one piece that almost went unnoticed could rewrite the history of art as we know it.

A treasure trove of riches was found. (Photo Credit: University of Cincinnati)

The tomb revealed more than 2,000 objects arrayed on and around the body, including four solid gold rings, silver cups, precious stone beads, fine-toothed ivory combs, and an intricately built sword, among other weapons.

Griffin Warrior Tomb Holds 3,500-Year-Old Artifact That Could Change Everything

The agate stone, originally covered in limestone (left), contained a remarkable secret (right). (Photo Credit: University of Cincinnati)

The Telegraph reported:

“The seal named the ‘Pylos Combat Agate’ has been hailed as one of the finest works of prehistoric Greek art ever discovered and may depict the mythological war between the Trojans and Mycenaeans, which was told in Homer’s Iliad hundreds of years later.”

The agate stone at first seemed fairly insignificant as it was stuck in limestone. However, after a year of careful restoration, researchers finally uncovered something underneath the limestone that would leave them stunned beyond belief.

The stone had been intricately carved with a design featuring two warriors in a Greek battle clashing against each other fiercely with one fallen warrior at their feet. One bare-chested warrior plunges a blade into the neck of an assailant, while a second enemy corpse lays at his feet.

The stone is only about 3.6 centimeters or 1.4 inches wide, and some of the details in the design are only 1/2 a millimeter or 1/100 of an inch. It would have been used as a seal, making an impression in wax, but how the artist was able to make such a detailed carving on such a tiny canvas with ancient tools had everyone in awe.

Griffin Warrior Tomb Holds 3,500-Year-Old Artifact That Could Change Everything

A closeup of the seal (Photo Credit: University of Cincinnati)

The discovery has also turned the art history world on its head because a piece like this was unheard of during that time period.

Meanwhile, Researchers are baffled by how ancient craftsmen were able to create such intricate designs with the tools they had available.

Jack Davis, Professor of Greek Archaeology at the University of Cincinnati’s Department of Classics, explained:

“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. It’s a spectacular find. Some of the details on this are only a half-millimeter big, they’re incomprehensibly small.” 

“It seems that they were producing art of the sort that no one ever imagined they were capable of producing,” Professor Davis continued.

“It shows that their ability and interest in representational art, particularly movement and human anatomy, is beyond what it was imagined to be. Combined with the stylized features, that itself is just extraordinary.”

Shari Stocker, dig leader of the University of Cincinnati’s Department of Classics said:

“Looking at the image for the first time was a very moving experience, and it still is. It’s brought some people to tears. It would have been a valuable and prized possession, which certainly is representative of the Griffin Warrior’s role in Mycenaean society.”

“This seal should be included in all forthcoming art history texts and will change the way that prehistoric art is viewed,” Stocker concluded, proving that even the most accepted facts about human history can be changed with one small discovery.

Watch it here: Let Me Know/Youtube

Sources: Taphaps, Telegraph

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